I am fortunate to have worked with and learned from, many Caregivers who are loving someone with dementia. As a health care professional and daughter, (who has been personally impacted by this disease,) I am regularly enlightened by words of wisdom encountered from the "lay people."
"Lay people" are the folks that have learned through osmosis about dementia, by utilizing local supports and community services, self learning, and using their tenacity to find ways to improve the quality of life for someone they care about. So often I have found inspiration in the words of wisdom shared with me; the practical, loving, raw, and emotional thoughts and reflections.
One Caregiver so inspired me, that I have kept these thoughts close to my heart, and wanted to express the lessons she taught me over the course of our time spent together.
Lessons from a Caregiver
Happiness is inevitable, she said,
I don’t wake up joyful every morning.
I find beauty in the little things.
Happiness is everywhere,
If we are open to possibilities.
Sadness is inevitable, she said,
There will be tears and trials,
There will be sorrows and pain,
But Sadness brings appreciation,
Of brighter days and rainbows waiting.
Fear is inevitable, she said,
Because we cannot predict the future.
We can only use our best judgment,
And embrace life as a gift,
Bequeathed, and measured, by the moments.
Anger is inevitable she said,
There will always be others contrary,
To the path that we have defined as ours.
Forgiveness of self, is without question
And forgiveness of others facilitates healing.
Mistakes are inevitable, she said,
We are human beings, no more, no less,
And suffering relates to our imperfections.
But errors yield strength and discovery,
And the recognition that love outweighs pain.
Death is inevitable, she said,
But those who have walked before me,
Were neither stronger, nor weaker,
And because of this, I am not alone.
I will face the journey with grace and dignity.
How do you keep your faith I said,
In a world where so many injustices prevail?
Open your eyes and yield, she said.
Each breath is a blessing, gifted by your maker,
And you are but a rain drop, in a perfect storm
Our encounters gave me so much insight into my attitude towards embracing life; including facing all the barriers, bumps and obstacles.
I encourage anyone who is involved in dementia care, either personally or professionally...
To open your eyes to possibilities,
Your ears to ideas,
Your minds to potential,
And your hearts,
To the fact that our actions and response, are guided by choice,
and THAT is all that is inevitable.