By now you may have become a well-oiled machine doing all that caregiving requires: check the meds, make the appointments, change the bed, arrange for meals. On and on it goes. Yet, in all that you are required to do, there may be a small shift that needs to happen.
I had to learn how to “be with” my mother rather than just “do for” her. This was a concept I learned from the book, Caring for Your Aging Parents by Richard Johnson. People like me keep ongoing mental checklists along with the written ones to make sure nothing is forgotten. And that’s helpful; but as Johnson explained, at some point you have to actually be with the person you are caring for.
Put aside all the things that are pressing for a moment, and just be with them. Look at your loved one more closely; consider what they may be feeling, hold their hand and just enjoy the relationship. For people who have Alzheimer’s, you may be meeting a new person each time you visit, but find a way to make the time with them more important than the work that has to be done. As others have said far more eloquently than me, dust will keep.
Your Turn: What’s one thing you will do to “be with” your loved one?