When my mother died in a local nursing home, my “career” of visiting this exceptional facility nearly every day for almost 15 years ended. Shortly after Mom’s passing, one of her nurses whom I’d become quite close with said to me, “We’ll still be seeing you up here. You won’t be able to quit.” It turns out she was wrong on that one. However, my case is a little different from most, since I’d spent nearly two decades caring for multiple elders. Also, my role hadn’t totally ended—I still had a family member at home who needed my care. Yet the loss of a loved one brings on many different emotions. Some of these we expect, such as sadness or even anger, while others can take us by surprise and leave us feeling conflicted.
Understanding How Relief and Grief Can Coincide: Many of us start our caregiving journey by assisting an elder in their home or looking after a spouse in our own home. As their care needs increase, we explore sources of respite, such as in-home care and adult daycare. Eventually, the move to an assisted living community, a memory care unit, or even a nursing home may become necessary for everyone’s well-being. Regardless of where our care recipients reside or what supports and resources we use, we remain family caregivers. Many of us continue to see our loved ones on a regular basis, manage their care, and advocate for them.
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
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