Being a Caregiver was not in my plan . . .
I wish I could tell you that my journey of caring for my widowed mother was smooth and uneventful.
Based on my strong health care background and extensive management experience in long-term care, I expected to be able to confront this new role with knowledge, resourcefulness and understanding.
Unfortunately, no amount of education or work experience can prepare you for the flood of emotions that undermine the very core of your being.
The relationship between my mother and I had always been tense. Her fiery personality and caustic tongue had caused years of strain.
After leaving home following high school, we continued to maintain a guarded and distant relationship. Our style of communication was one of avoidance; dancing from one hot topic to another, just trying to keep the peace.
Unfortunately, I failed to recognize the subtle, early signs of dementia. When her symptoms became more apparent, I met with her family doctor. My mother had masked her dementia well and only upon my insistence, received a referral to a Geriatric Assessment Clinic. They confirmed the diagnosis.
I did not have time for this. I had just left my marriage of 20 years and was trying to establish a new life and begin a new career. I was living four hours away from my mother’s home and my sister, employed full-time, lived one hour away.
With little choice, I put my plans on hold and began the journey of endless phone calls, medical appointments and attempts to structure some form of in-home support. My mother resisted any plans.
The relationship between my sister and I became strained, each of us struggling with the demands of our own lives. We were conflicted by the life changing decisions that confronted us.
When the final call came advising us of an available bed in a facility, I trembled with fear of the pending ordeal. The sense of deceit and guilt was overwhelming.
My mother is now settled and enjoying the fellowship of familiar volunteers and residents. With proper treatment and medications, she is more content and loving.
We have established a loving relationship that has always eluded me. I feel very blessed and look forward to our visits.
This experience has left me with the desire and passion to provide support to those navigating the care-giving journey.
Life and Caregiver Coaching provides you with opportunities for personal growth and ways to transform your life through acceptance and forgiveness.