It's a bright, sunny and warm afternoon and I'm happily sipping my favorite drink (chai latte with soy) in my favorite coffee house (with free WiFi). Just attended a Caregivers Expo nearby. Lots of helpful information from the NFCA (National Family Caregivers Association, www.nfcacares.org). Having no siblings or offspring to help me care for my mom when she needs help is overwhelming at times. Knock on wood, her medical issues aren't happening all at once but even so they are continual and as she ages I know they will only become more complicated.
The main advice I got from the presentations I attended was to not beat myself up with guilt and take care of myself first so I can be around (and present) to take care of my loved one. I learned that there are 50 million (yes MILLION) caregivers, outside the medical establishment, giving aide to family members. Most have no medical or professional caregiving training and have to juggle other responsibilities in their lives. I've been fortunate thus far that when I had a job they didn't have issue with me taking time off to care for her and my income helped offset some of her expenses, but now that I'm "between assignments" this will complicate the situation. Though I have "time" now I still have many things I need to do on a regular basis to find employment or freelance work. And I'm definitely not ready to change my career to caregiving:)
So for now, I'll gather all the information I can, learn to ask for help when I need it and most of all learn to relax and take a break from time to time. I guess that's what this afternoon is about...chai and sunshine.