My mom is my best friend. I know it’s a cliché, but, it’s true. You may know her as Myrna Billian. Did I mention, she’s almost 101 and we live together now? It’s a blessing in many ways. But, it’s also hard.
We laugh a lot, and together we face her daily challenges. She’s amazing—still “with it”—she doesn’t miss much (don’t get her started on politics!). But the years are showing and the aging process is at high speed. Every day is like a week. Every week is like a month and every month is like a year.
She now has difficulty doing things she once took for granted, like dressing, or enjoying a steak, or getting her own glass of water. It’s all changed and it squeezes my heart because I know it is forever.
You always hear: “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” “The golden years, aren’t.” “Make the best of it” is the usual advice. But there is another, harder, side of the story. It’s my story. And it’s the same story for all of us who are caregivers.
As my mom gets older, I do more and more for her.
Sometimes she’s resistant.
Sometimes she’s reluctant.
Sometimes she’s downright ornery!
And I have realized: no one prepared me for this. No one told me what to expect. No one warned me. Where’s the manual? Where’s the support team?
As I enjoy so many things with my mom and we share our lives and home, I am surprised on a regular basis by all that I don’t know. I talk to my friends in similar circumstances. We help each other. Sharing experiences is not only good and helpful—it’s crucial! We can all help each other.
Recently, I met the great people at Benchmark Senior Living who have a wealth of information about the new priorities in my life. They know everything about what we are all facing. Alzheimer’s, dementia, assisted living, eldercare.... There’s a lot to talk about. And we will! We will do this together—starting with my blog: Caring for Caregivers.
This is just the beginning! Soon we’ll have a Caregivers’ Book Club, conversations on social media, online chats with experts and I’ll be telling you about events where we can meet and discuss our challenges in person!
In the meantime, you can learn more about caregiving by contacting your local Benchmark Senior Living community. Trust me, it feels good to do this together!
Until the next time,