See: Help! Aging Parents: http://www.helpparentsagewell.blogspot.com for complete conversation about “Aging Parents and Us–as Caregivers: Know Thyself.”
Knowing thyself as a caregiver involves the understanding of positives and negatives.
For seven years my husband and I were caregivers for his mother. Initially, she moved to our area and into a supportive independent living retirement community. This arrangement worked well for three years. Then we entered into a crisis phase for six months due to a cycle of falls, hospitalizations, and rehabs. In an attempt to end this “vicious cycle,” my mother-in-law moved into our home and I became the primary caregiver. The arrangement went well for two years before we inevitably hit the slippery slope of decline, which lasted another two years until her death. Those last two years were very difficult.
After our journey was over, I wanted to turn what had become quite negative into a positive once again. I (along with my co-author) wrote a book about caregiving, What to Do about Mama? A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members, and am in the process of promoting the book on social media sites, an area in which my experience is practically nil. My oldest daughter is helping me with this endeavor.
This brings me to the point I am addressing: What’s positive and what’s negative? Although my daughter is proud of my accomplishment of authoring a published book, and although she believes the book has value for “people who need it,” the book in and of itself makes her uncomfortable. Simply, it feels negative to her. Isn’t it ironic that I wrote a book to turn a negative into a positive, but that it feels negative?
Of course, as a mother, I’ve been a caregiver most of my life. But for me, caregiving for children is a hopeful process of building and preparing for the future. But caregiving for an aging parent is in contrast trying to make the final path as comfortable and trauma-free as possible by doing the best you can day by day.
I think your last two sentences say it all, Barbara. Of course no one is perfect And when we do the latter to the best of our ability, we basically have no regrets (a positive). This isn’t always true with parenting, however. We can do our best and we can still have regrets (I know this well from my many years of counseling). Wishing you good luck with your book.