As life expectancy continues to climb, many of us find ourselves experiencing the struggles and blessings of being caregivers.
The responsibility of taking care of an elderly person can sometimes be overwhelming. There is a direct correlation between caregiving and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This is especially true for adult children who take care of parents with dementia or with a severe disability. For caregivers with little support it is understandable that they begin to resent that virtually all decisions fall to them. I found myself eight years ago starting my journey of being my father’s guardian and caregiver after he suffered a stroke.
As a coping mechanism I tried to remember all of the good times we had together, and how my children benefited from having him near when they were growing up. I also found it cathartic to blow off steam with my spouse and with my friends who faced similar situations.
After eight years on this journey my father recently passed. As I look back I am grateful for the richer and more mature relationship I gained with him. This fuller relationship was a direct result from helping him manage the difficulties of growing old and helping him deal with the side effects of his stroke.
For those of you in similar situations, know that when you emerge from the storm of hectic days, there is great peace of mind in knowing that you did your part the best that you could.
I’m Gregory Taylor, and that’s my perspective.