To be a caregiver was an experience I found all consuming. There were the logistics of managing doctors, nurses, home health aides, and medical supplies. I felt the strong emotional impact of caring for my husband and also realizing that my life would be changed forever. But, as a caregiver you realize new capabilities plus the fulfillment of nurturing and caring for a loved one. Knowing that you can handle this new experience also builds strength. It was very rewarding, helping someone, seeing his happiness and appreciation. Certainly helping others is one way to help yourself.
Caregiving means you're on an emotional roller coaster, with days that are fulfilling and days that are filled with disappointments and frustrations. As a caregiver, I rarely thought of the future, as the painful realities of everyday life kept me ever so busy. I realize now that is important to keep things in perspective. Also, having been a caregiver I realize the importance of visiting friends who are sick and offering support and friendship.
- Rose Age 63, Brooklyn, NY
Taking care of my mother was so incredibly difficult, but so gratifying. I didn't know what to do when we brought her back from the hospital. I didn't know how to move her in and out of her wheel chair, or how to bathe her, it was really uncomfortable at first. Once we got into a routine, it became a little easier day by day. Actually it gave us time together that we never would have had and, I think, the chance to know each other more just as people. The fact that I was there and able to comfort her through her illness and it has definitely enriched my life.
- Paul Age 32, Lambertville, NJ
Father's room: 1 bed with 1 blanket and 1 sheet. 1 chair. Nightstand with alarm clock. Chest of drawers for socks, underwear, sweater. The top drawer (as is the way with men) full of odds and ends. I would hear him cough and rasp in his sleep, through the walls, and knew he was dying. Every evening I would make sure to watch All in the Family with him. It was complete and lovely to live with him and take care of him. I relished the opportunity to be a good daughter to him.
- Jane Age 50, New Hope, PA