Embracing the Caregiver Role

In the summer of 2011, Tania and her sister Gina were grieved with the circumstance of having two parents in the hospital at the same time. To make it worse, they were in different hospitals; one hour apart. Tania was drawn to their mother, and her sister to her Dad. They didn’t pressure each other, rather their natural abilities paired with what each parent needed at the time.

Gina is a doctor in teacher’s clothing, with the ability to read hospital monitors and speak with doctors like they were colleagues. Their father suffered from lung cancer, and needed that support from Gina.

(Related: Six Ways to Help Caregiving for an Aging Parent From Afar)

Their mother needed emotional support while doctors ran a daunting number of test to determine whether she’d had a minor stroke and extent of her dementia.

As if that weren’t enough, Tania was also a mother of four, a wife, an adjunct professor, professional actress, small business owner, and writer.

She could not commit to her mother without borrowing time from all of those areas at a cost. When she was with her, she felt guilt for tending to her other roles and vice versa.

(Related: A Lesson From Dr. Suess for Long-term Care Operators)

Her situation was anything but temporary. After her one week hospital stay, her mother was transferred to a nursing home with a dementia unit, where she remained for the next forty-six years.

Feeling responsible for her mother’s well-being, Tania wasn’t able to manage the task until she embraced the role of caregiver.

No longer did she feel that being with her mother was taking time from, rather being a part of. With her heart already open to take care of her mother, embracing her as a dependent enabled her to open up her light and see a bigger picture.

(Related: Planning for People with Alzheimer’s Disease: Part 1)

Her mother’s dignity, grace, and accomplishments did not suffer as a result of needing care. Circumstance converted their relationships. Tania let go of the notion of being the child; roles had reversed.

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Read more: http://blog.alz.org/embracing-the-caregiver-role/

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