The trick for a caregiver will always be about time management and guilt management. That is a bold statement that I hope I will be able to explain as this conversation moves along.
The thing about taking care of a loved one is that if you don’t work outside the home, you don’t feel like you get a lot done inside the home either. Most days, I find successful if I am able to do the dishes in order to use them again for lunch and dinner. If at the end of the night I have a clean kitchen, I’m a happy camper.
When any of my family members spends time here, it does give me the opportunity of getting a little more done. If my daughter is off or my sister visits, I can relax and do things I normally cannot do without taking my eyes off my mom. Time management is a major project. If I want to get anything done, I have to do it before she wakes up or after she goes to sleep. Think about it for a second. Remember when you had a baby and you did not get enough sleep? Same thing happens now, only it is an adult and you still need to keep an eye on everything they do.
Another thing that is a process is food. My mom loves pizza. I’m trying to start a business I can run from home. Guess what? Every once in a while, I let her have a treat. I get an extra hour for working, she gets her favorite food and everyone is happy.
So, if you live in a house where other members work, there is a level of guilt that comes from staying home. From feeling that you don’t contribute enough, to lack of sleep or a healthy diet, everything is a good reason to worry and feel guilty. Your job as the caretaker, is to stop feeling guilty and enjoy the moment.
This week I was able to verbalize to everyone around me that the first three days of any week are all about taking care of my mom and her appointments. I have a business to run, books to write, other commitments. I did send a message to everyone I knew letting them know that time with me is limited on those days. I don’t feel guilty about this anymore. There will come a day when I will have to put my mom in a home, and I will not have to care for her anymore. I might as well have as much fun as humanly possible now, before that happens.
This is a short post because I am really sleepy. What do you think? Leave your comment below. Don’t forget to share this message when somebody you know living through this disease.