Studies show that family members believe caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is rewarding, while at the same time the most difficult challenge in life. Alzheimer’s care is not an option, although sometimes choosing who cares for your parent may be optional. Very often, children and grandchildren believe they should be the loving, responsible caregivers and begin the process innocently. However, one day they hear their mother or father saying something like, “Who am I?” or “Who are you?” and they begin to wonder if they have taken on more than they had planned.
Of course you care for your mother or father, or grandparent. However, love is not enough to be a primary caregiver. Alzheimer’s care is 24/7 and that means you cannot afford to doze off or look away; your loved one may wander off as many Alzheimer’s patients do. When caring for someone becomes too exhausting and overwhelming it may be time to consider professional Alzheimer’s care. However, do not expect that this will take the pressure and worry off of you immediately. Most families comment that initially they worry about their parent while in the care of another until they are sure that the professional is the right person(s) for their mom or dad.
When you are a family member’s Alzheimer’s care provider, your role changes. You and your parent may experience a role reversal and it takes time, more for you than for your mom or dad, to accept that change. Sadly, in many cases your mother or father may not recognize you from day to day or hour to hour and every moment you dedicate to them may be heart wrenching. The day you turn their care over to a professional you may lose your identity again. You are no longer their child and no longer their caretaker. For many that is yet another loss in Alzheimer’s care.