The best part of being a caregiver, for my mom with dementia, is when we seem to actually have a real conversation:
“Mom, you ever getting up today?”
“You were up late last night, huh?”
“Do you want to sleep another half hour?”
Then, there are the times when Mom obviously gets a joke. When she’s the first one to laugh it’s clear she understood. One day, I was relating a story to Dad about my golf game that morning. On one shot, my ball hit a tree and landed behind me. Dad was taking off his shoes, not paying full attention to the story. But Mom, well, she burst out laughing. Did she really understand or was it the tone I used as I related the incident? I don’t even care. I just loved that she laughed.
The best part of being a caregiver is when Mom expresses her gratitude. When Dad hands her a cup of tea, or I serve her some pie, she looks directly in our eyes and comes out with a very articulated, “Thank You.”, as if she’s never had these things before. Even after a trying time in the shower, when it’s all done, she’ll put her hand on my shoulder and tell me, “You’re nice. Thank you.”
The best part of being Mom’s caregiver is watching as she recognizes a familiar face. If I spoke of my brother-in-law, Manny, to Mom, she would only give me a quizzical look. But, when Manny walked in recently for his annual visit Mom’s eyes opened wide and her arms went out for a hug.
The best part of being a caregiver is when I see Mom rocking and swaying to some music all on her own. Most times, I get her up and moving when I’m dancing but every so often I see her enjoying music by herself. It brings back memories of the Mom I used to know.
The best part of taking care of Mom is when she agrees with me! Sometimes, she understands what it is she’s agreeing to, sometimes not. No matter to me. The entire day becomes easier when she agrees with what I want us to do.
The best part of being a caregiver is watching Mom participate in activities she used to do. Sweeping the floor, browning the hamburger and folding laundry are all chores she can still handle.
My point is, there are many ‘best’ moments being a caregiver and for me, they far outweigh the worst moments.