A lot of research as been implemented in the caregiving role as it is an important aspect in the ageing, mental health and disability community. Carers put a lot of selfless effort into their role because they just want to to be there for the people they love and care about. Their role is probably the most difficult because usually they will have to put their life on hold to care for others. It is not something that is planned, but an unplanned experience that comes with its own lot of challenges and personal growth for the carer.
Here are some quotes from carers who care for people who have cognitive decline or dementia, while the carers themselves adjust in their new and unplanned role. The quotes are from a book called "Family Caregivers: Disability, Illness and Ageing". The book contains information about a longitudinal research program about the carer's role and their health while caring to influence policy and intervention changes.
"They are not the person that you have known as a child, so you are adjusting to having a stranger in your house."
"It's terrible, it's soul-destroying, watching someone that you love go downhill."
"Our relationship has changed. Before he got sick our marriage wasn't too close because he was away a lot and we grew apart. All of a sudden he got sick and we were thrown together... I had a terrible lot of resentment because just as we should be starting to enjoy life, I had to stay at home and look after him."
"He's never asked me to do anything in all our 35 years of married life and now he finds that he's got to and that's the worst thing."
"A man caring for his wife felt that 'if you're feeding them three times a day, and you're standing there for two hours every meal, you start getting very uptight yourself."
As you can see the adjustment to the new caring role can be frustrating and challenging while you put on a brave face to cope. Sometimes you may need to crumble, sometimes cry, and sometimes resent your new role. But ultimately as I have experienced with many carers you will cope because you are strong, the most loving type of people I have ever met and the most giving. Just don't feel bad if you don't feel strong for the moment, because it is only a moment in time and you are not alone.
jb Consulting and Psychology
Counselling, consulting and eduction to improve child, adolescent & youth mental health, and parenting skills.