Recently I facilitated a support group that was truly sad. The issues were real, raw, and the group had to dig deep to find a reason to be okay.
In addition to being caregivers, several were experiencing other devastating issues. I had a mother who is caring for her husband and recently experienced the death of a child.
I had a husband who must sell his home so he can move with his wife to a facility to be near their children. It has been many months and no one, not one prospective buyer, has looked at their home.
Another woman is moving to be near her children. She and her husband have lived here for over 30 years, and this move is breaking her heart. She is leaving her friends, her church, and making all of the decisions alone.
Her husband does not understand what is happening. She has to decide what goes and what stays, how to transport her husband, close on their old house, close on the new house, hire movers on both ends, find new doctors, and the list goes on.
One of my caregivers said, "I have nothing to look forward to because my wife will continue to get worse. Everything has to be planned. I can no longer just go get a beer with the guys, or go hit some golf balls without having to plan for her. There is zero spontaneity in my life."
How can this person ever feel hope again? How can any one of these folks feel joy?
As the meeting was closing, one of my caregivers asked that we pray for her. So we prayed and we cried and we held one another.
As I sat down to write this article, I knew I had to find something that I could share with caregivers that are feeling hopeless, alone, and that need something that could give them a bit of joy.
I found the website www.thecaregiver space.org. The site offers information that can truly inspire caregivers. The techniques can be used daily, but one must invest in themselves and do the research to find solutions.
I encourage my readers to go to this website and take notes. For anyone that needs to be with people who understand what you are going through, I encourage you to join our support groups. The schedule for support groups and other information about our services can be found at www.memory-matters.org.
Caregiving can be beautiful and immensely rewarding, but it can also have some very dark times.
Remember, you don't have to be perfect.
Today, resolve to treat yourself with the same compassion that you give to others. Please reach out to Memory Matters 843-842-6688. We truly care.
Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. firstname.lastname@example.org