Caregiver’s Corner

May 2, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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Caregivers need to be cared for too.  Here’s a list of the BEST things people did to support me as a caregiver:

Sit a spell

Caregiving is a lonely business.  It was great when friends stopped by just to chat, see how things were doing and offer a moment of moral support.

Get down and Dirty

My husband and I had an open house.  I guess the crowd was just too much for my mom.  She went into full fledged wandering, sundowning, looking for her dead parents mode.  The only way to avoid world war 3 was to put her in the car and ride. When we returned, the kitchen and dining room were spotless,  and the downstairs was vacuumed and put back in order.  THAT was a priceless gift.

Time Off

During the time I cared for my mom, my only brother was living about 500 miles away, so he was unable to to chip in on a daily or weekly basis.  He would visit for two or so weeks at a time.  That gave me time to run errands, get things done around the house and REST.  So, even though he wasn’t part of the day to day routine. He did pitch in when he could and I appreciated it.

More Time Off

From time to time someone from my church would call and say, "I have a couple of hours, would you like me to come and sit with your mom for a while?"  Those were precious times.


I love to cook and everything related to the kitchen (except cleaning up).  However, with all of the other things to do, meal preparation became quite a challenge.  It was such a blessing when people stopped by with food or when they called to say, let’s potluck. 

Opportunities to serve in different ways

For three of my seven years of caregiving, I had the opportunity to go on mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Peru and Africa.  Anyone who is a caregiver knows that two weeks away is absolutely unheard of.  Yet, my husband, sister in law, mother in law and brother all pitched in so that I could make those trips.  The conditions were ROUGH and I returned tired, but with a stark reminder that with all of my troubles, there were people who were WAY worse off than I was.

Checked in on ME

When you care for a sick person, people often inquire as to how things are going.  I was so grateful for the people who took time to ask how I was doing?

Space and permission to grieve

As caregivers do, I experienced a myriad of emotions. The people in my life who allowed and even encouraged me to explore and express my feelings did more for me than they can imagine.

Don’t talk about momma

Well, I don’t know about you, but where I come from, just ONE ill spoken word about momma is cause for a fight.  My mom exhibited some pretty strange behaviors at times.  And never once, did my friends ban us from visiting or give us strange looks.  Even more than that, they talked with her, hugged her and engaged her.  They loved her!

Don’t wait for someone to come or call.  You have to take care of yourself as a caregiver.  You are no good to your loved one if you are exhausted and not feeling well.  click  here for some tips from the National Family Caregivers Association.

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2 Responses to “Caregiver’s Corner”
  1. Hi Carol, thanks so much for checking in. I’ll have to check out your book, I’m always on the prowl for a good read for myself and our readers. I love the bubble idea. It’s so important to nurture other relationships while we are in the midst of caregiving. Thanks Again!

  2. I agree with your list! I was a sand-gen-er and had a house full of teenage girls, my mother who had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and my hubby–along with dogs, cats and all that big crazy house brings.
    Not talking about momma is really important. Caregiving can be exhausting, frustrating, and all consuming–if you let it.
    I wanted to come out of careigivng with my marriage intact, and it really helped to envision my husband and I in a bubble–and to protect us and nurture “us.”

    Showers helped (the one place mother wouldn’t barge in) –late night walks, coffee in bed–moments snatched here and there. He was so strong and supportive during this time (almost three years) and I could have never done this without him.

    ~Carol D. O’Dell
    Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir
    available on Amazon

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