Caregiving is dressing up in matching jackets to go out, and always carrying a Kleenex. Caregiving is making 3-D paper snowflakes that impress to no end and stay up all year. Caregiving is celebrating Thanksgiving together early. Caregiving is jr. cheeseburgers from Runza, again, because that is all she will eat.
Caregiving is getting to know my city 500% better than I ever did before. I know where the Walgreens, grocery stores, and doctors offices are. Better than that, I also know what specific parts of town used to be like 70 years ago. I have all sorts of borrowed memories, and I’ve made many new ones too. “This is where we always came for lunch.” “This is the park where we sat in the car and ate McDonald’s.” “This is where we tried to take a shortcut, got rather lost, but loved looking at all the huge houses.”
Caregiving is doing extensive planning, convincing, and reassuring (because going places with someone with Alzheimer’s can be a complicated process!) so Miss Trish and I could go to a performance of The Messiah together. This is one of the absolute highlights of my 5 years as a caregiver.
And finally, in the words of the daughter of one of my long-term clients, caregiving is
“[sharing] in the grace-filled times that the elderly have when they lose their independence and are forced, against their will, to rely on others.”