One of the many difficulties associated with caregiving is that you will tend to disappear. You will become invisible. Not at first of course, but as you become more and more involved in the care of someone that needs the most attention from you, you will lose the ability to maintain your own identity. This may have already happened in your life as you cared for small children, but in that instance it was a joyous reward to oversee the development and nurturing of children that would go on to succeed.
There is no success here. You are much older and significantly more tired. Caring for this person is not a means to an end, it is the process that will get you to the ultimate end. The person you are caring for may be belligerent, ungrateful, treat you as though you were still the child, and, perhaps worst of all, not recognize you or not be able to express any acknowledgment for the efforts you have put forth.
Deep down you know that they have no malicious intent. You know that they are not verbally abusing you because they are mean-spirited; you know this because they are not who they used to be. You must do things for yourself – even in the simplest ways – to create a sense of accomplishment. Make sure there is still a sense of yourself.
Read more on this topic at Agingcare.com, in an excellent article entitled “Don't Let Caring for Your Elderly Parents Ruin Your Other Relationships.”
Do you have an LBD story to tell? LBDA invites you to submit a personal LBD story for possible inclusion in our Web site, newsletter or other publications. To submit a story, click here.