Caregivers Make A Difference In More Than One Person's Life
As saddened as we all are by the recent loss of fellow expert Dorian Martin's mother, this passage offers the opportunity for reflection on how caregivers care. They care with all their heart and soul.
Despite the 24/7 responsibilities of caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's disease - more hours than caring for people with other illnesses...despite the many, many years that this brain disorder typically lasts...despite the overwhelming emotional and physical drain, many caregivers still manage to be giving even above and beyond the selfless devotion to their loved ones. They're generous with others with their thoughts and time during the illness and/or after a loved one has passed.
Dorian's diary on OurAlzheimers of her caregiving experiences is one example of that. By sharing her journey, other caregivers know that there are women and men worldwide in the same situation, tackling similar challenges and roller-coaster emotions. It has been a gift to others.
I hear about numerous other examples of this selflessness all the time. Recently, care ADvantage, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's free magazine for caregivers, highlighted several: Burton Greenberg, a retired director, who, while spending as much time as possible visiting his wife in a nursing home, is also producing a documentary about male caregivers; Judy Berry founded a unique assisted living residence in honor of her mother, who passed away from Alzheimer's disease. Just last week, I met one of AFA's new advisory board members who developed an organizational tool for caregivers based on a need she found while caregiving. The list goes on and on...
By doing this for other caregivers, caregivers find that they, too, receive gifts: among them is respite from their own caregiving responsibilities and feeling good about helping others. In addition, for those who have experienced the death of their loved ones, helping others can offer healing during the grieving process.
However it comes about and however the caregiving experience translates into a new product, service or activity, these heroic efforts are making a tremendous difference in the lives of others.