Help and understand better people with dementia
I have been the proud owner of CDS Boutique for nearly 28 years. I have developed a passion and expertise to help and better understand people with dementia by pouring my heart and time in it. Who would have thought that someday, my own mother would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? Truth be told, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. That challenge, it just wasn’t for us.
Today, I’m talking about this mom that I barely knew as an adult because life gave us two different paths. About this mom that was hard to be around because of her mental illness problems. I’m also talking about this mom that has been given back to me over time because Alzheimer has given her back her softness, her love, her humour and her gentle side. That’s the mom I started taking care of 10 years ago. I did it because no one else could, I probably did it by filial duty, simply because she was my mother, and I kept doing it because over time, I fell back in love with her.
A few years ago, someone who worked in a long-term care facility asked me if I was the caregiver. I replied no, I’m her daughter. I take care of her. The person then said, okay, so You are the caregiver. And all of a sudden, it finally came to me. I realized it. It really hit me.
From that point on, I felt more respected and listened to. In decisions, by the authorities, by other members of the family and by the nursing staff.
Let’s be honest, being a caregiver, it can be a thankless role. And, unfortunately, this is too often the case. But as far as I’m concerned, it is a role that I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world. These past years were a gift to my mom and me. It got us to reconnect, love each other and complete the picture, as they say. Despite all the sadness, it is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in my personal life and has greatly impacted my professional life. It has changed the way I approach my work, impacted how I interact with clients, made me closer to the people who are going through the same thing and mostly, it has made me a better person.
If you want to share your experience, please write to me. I think it is crucial that caregivers talk about, recognize and share their experience. I would be happy to share your story with our readers, and hopefully, it will help us feel less alone in this huge role we have been assigned.
To learn more about caregivers, see this APPUI article.