The future and caregiving


How do I see the future? Well, I guess as a family caregiver, for me the future is 5 minutes from now. I try not to cast a net too far ahead of me because I’ve learned in 34 years that things can change on a whim, and the idea for us in what we’re doing is maintain my mother’s current functional abilities and her quality of life. I think that the best piece of advice I've ever heard as far as trying to balance the home versus facility environment is, and the possible guilt of being a family caregiver’is that I would never want to wrap myself into such a tight ball about having my mom at home for the rest of her life. So, rather than promise or make a promise to a loved one that I’m going to keep my mom at home forever—and she obviously won’t understand that anyway—but for my own sake, it’s more about looking at the promise that she will always get the best care possible. And if the best care possible is at home, then so be it. But it doesn’t necessarily always mean that. So for me the future is: she will always get the best care possible. I would love to believe that it’s always going to be as part of our family unit. […] The immediate sort of short-term future challenges are going to be my family life—my kids and where they’re are at in their current lives, they demand more and more out of me and my wife. The medium-term future for us—and, I mean, fingers crossed—but I certainly hope my kids to some degree are active participants in the caregiving, and that they come to appreciate the fact that what we’re doing is something you can continue into the future. But does that mean I know exactly what the future looks like? Not really, other than a pretty firm commitment to ensuring that her quality of life is the highest we can possibly make it. Ultimately I know that, whether that’s at home or not, I’m still going to be as a family caregiver. I’m still involved 24 hours/day, 7 days/week; it just may take a different shape so to speak.

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