She had been the caregiver for her husband, who was suffering from dementia, for quite some time. She had finally decided to place her husband in memory care and I was helping her with the paperwork. As she slowly completed it, she apologized for her shaky handwriting. “That’s just what happens when you get old,” she said with a sigh, as she sadly looked down at her hands.
The next time I saw her, about a month later, her demeanor had changed considerably. She moved a little lighter and she smiled broadly as she saw me. “You remember that problem I had with my handwriting?” she asked. “Yes,” I nodded. “It’s all cleared up now,” she said.
The stress and worry that had slowly built up in her from being on guard 24/7 had slowly dissipated over the intervening month. She was able to breathe again. She was able to smile again. And she was able to write clearly again.
As you travel the gray mile as a caregiver, you can best protect the ones you love by first protecting yourself.