One of the hardest things in life is watching the decline in our elders, people we had once depended upon and revered. I’ll never forget the shock of seeing my father, his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s, chuckling goofily over a children’s cartoon show. This had been a man of intellect, a man of taste and discernment, a lover of Shakespeare. And now this!
Another friend tells of feeding her weakened father baby food. She describes the painfully difficult task of reconciling the two impressions—the person in need holding his mouth open for a spoon and the man she had looked up to all her life for guidance.
As caregivers we must simultaneously hold in our minds the former image of the loved ones we have taken responsibility for, while accepting who they are now. We don’t do them any favors by treating them as babies; but nor should we weigh them down with the burden of perfection. (more…)