I’m 59, a semi-sorta-self-employed writer and musician, and serve as a full-time family caregiver.
Okay. A lot of people are in that boat. It’s the new occupation for the Baby Boom generation. People are living longer (though this doesn’t necessarily say the quality of life is so hot), and baby boomers have to either juggle career and caregiving or go into semiretirement and take care of family members full time.
In my case I moved across the country to do this. South Carolina’s my home, but my current address is somewhere in California. A strange land. Again, this is not unusual. Lots of people my age have done this to take care of someone. Flying back and forth or doing the long-distance caregiving thing only goes so far.
Right now I’m taking care of Dad, who has dementia and the aftereffects of two strokes. He’s also recently widowed, which doesn’t do him much good. I took care of Mom during the last six months of her life, so I got to practice on her first.
I’m half nurse, half physical therapist, half legal advocate, half financial counselor, half taxi driver, half cook, half running buddy, half handyman and half gardener. None of this crap adds up.
And all actor. Forget about reasoning with a brain taken over by dementia. Often I just have to play along.
I’m learning a bunch of stuff on the fly. Some of the mechanics of dementia. A few acting tricks. A few ways to cope without going completely bughouse and running down Magnolia Avenue with everything hanging out and screaming curses in an unknown tongue.
In here you’ll find some of my journal entries and some practical thoughts to go with them. Hopefully you might find some value in this.