Move From Doing to Being

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

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?

Published by Ardella

I am a retired educator and a Christian Education director. My passion is teaching and writing. My book, Learning to Love Olivia, chronicles my journey in caring for my mother during her season with Alzheimer's.

4 thoughts on “Move From Doing to Being

  1. Ardella, this post rings so beautifully true to me. During the better part of 2018, I was suffering from some very severe issues; so much so, that my sister had to step up and play the role of care giver for me. She was just as you described in your post: busy doing, doing, doing. So often I simply longed to talk to her about how I was feeling, but I couldn’t, because there was never enough time, and she had so many things to do. Also, sometimes she just didn’t have the patience. She’s a very pragmatic person, and so felt she was wasting time if she was just “being” with me, rather than getting something I needed done. I had to reiterate to her how important it was just to be able to talk to her. Eventually, we found a balance: in between all the doing, she would make time for us to play our favorite card games. This meant so much, as it brought both of us fun and laughter, and me companionship, during a very lonely and difficult time. It’s a lot to ask of one person to juggle the demands of doing and being, but when the person is willing and able, it’s an extraordinary blessing.


  2. I care for my 23 year old daughter who has severe cerebral palsy. Between grad school, paying attention to my business, and trying to pay attention to my home and husband, sometimes I run out of minutes of the day. Starting last Nov., at the end of the day, each and every day, my daughter and I call my mother and we watch the news and chat about different things. We all look forward to this call. This article really hit home. Thank you so much! Terri L Bailey-Gainesville, FL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri, thanks for your response. Congrats on the new way you are “being” with your daughter and your mother. Your plate is pretty full. Best wishes for finishing grad school amid all your other accomplishments and caregiving as well.


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