I am writing this little message with the hope it will encourage you, the caregiver. Yet, I must confess it was a constant struggle for me to get through this same commitment. The work took up more time than I wanted to give and drained me emotionally. Shortly after my parents came to live with my husband Bill and me, my mother began to show signs of dementia. Also my stepfather’s heart condition worsened, and he developed kidney failure. This meant the last few years of their lives, they could no longer take care of their most basic needs.
Often I wondered why it was my lot to be encumbered by this huge responsibility of overseeing their care while other friends my age were free to do as they pleased. On the days it was my turn to take care of my parents, the to-do-list seemed endless. I had to bring Mom to the bathroom, change her diapers, cook, feed her three meals, help them both get washed up and dressed, dole out medications, clean-up the kitchen, and then get them ready for bed.
With a tendency to feel sorry for myself, it became clear to me I had to make a daily choice to be happy and peaceful. Often I failed, but clearly when I refused to complain and embraced uplifting thoughts, I had more enthusiasm and energy. If I moaned about being overworked and wanted to give up, I’d tell myself, you are keeping your parents safe and secure. You are a loving person. You are doing a good job. It amazed me how just a quick change of focus could make a bad day into a good one.
Next time you feel overworked and discouraged, consider saying out loud with confidence: “I am strong. I am glad to show my love. I am good at this.” Take a few deep breaths. Later, if negative thoughts start to creep back, just repeat the above or use your own inspiring declarations. The more you hold onto the positive, the more loving, capable, and energetic you will feel. You can do this!
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