Thank you


A very thoughtful post by Gill about the relationship between caregivers and care recipients inspired this post. Please read it, she writes beautifully about her reaction (as a person with dementia) towards caregivers when they blog about their trials.

It got me thinking about my relationship as a caregiver, albeit part-time, with Mom, who has dementia. To tell the truth, I strive to do the minimum. Which is fine when things are stable and sailing along. Unfortunately, when things deteriorate as they have for the last few months, I wonder if I’ve done too little and feel bad as a consequence. Rest assured, I think I’ve sorted through what was within my control and what wasn’t, and learned a few lessons to be applied in future. So, I don’t feel so guilty.

I don’t know how my mother feels about needing care. We don’t talk about these things. But I do know she says “Thank you” at every opportunity.
Thank you (for my medicine).
Thank you (for taking me out).
Thank you (for helping me dress).
She simply accepts the help and thanks us for it. And I accept her thanks, “You’re welcome.” I used to protest “No need to thank me!” but I’ve stopped.

When I think about it, Mom’s independent streak makes her want to do everything by herself. Yet, although she never says it nor complains, she is aware that she is no longer able to do some things. She is able to graciously accept assistance and relinquish control. My “minimal help” suits her, because I only step in after she has tried and failed.

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22 thoughts on “Thank you”

  1. I also found Gill’s post really thought-provoking and left a comment – probably a bit garbled – on her blog. I’m still thinking about it.

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  2. My mother is at the mid-stage of dementia. She is unable to read or write and has trouble completing a sentence. She refuses to shower and is just now beginning to refuse to dress (other than a housecoat). Gill’s post gave me pause – I wonder if my mother can “think” more clearly than she can speak? Thanks for posting this link.

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  3. Thank you for your blog and this post. Although I didn’t mention it in my particular post, my mother had dementia, too. I miss being able to care for her. Your change from saying ‘no need to thank me!’ to ‘you’re welcome’ brings tears to my eyes. You will not regret this – any of it.

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  4. I was such a vicious little b*&^% to my mother! Of course that was 20 years ago and I was only 13! It was traumatizing to care for my mother, especially when I wanted to be cared for by her. I mourned her everyday, even when she was alive. In the early stages, she knew she couldn’t deal with the responsibilities of running a home. She swore me to secrecy and gave me all the money and told me to run the house, and I did. She told me that she hated not being herself and that she was scared. Unfortunately, I did not have the knowledge or the maturity that I have today, and I did not tell anyone, till neither she or I could hide it any longer.

    I loved Gill’s post. I think PWDs and care partners need to continue sharing their voices…it’s helps in generating empathy for each other and making the partnership easier. It is heartbreakingly beautiful to know that your mother thanks you for the things you do for her. You are so sensitive…I wish I had been that way! *sigh*

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    1. I hadn’t realised you were so young! What a way to grow up. I’m sure you did very well, and your mother understood how much you loved her.
      Gill’s post brings out a truth we did not want to see I think.

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  5. A wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m so happy you stopped by the Cow Pasture again and enjoyed my post. Please feel free to comment whenever you visit.

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  6. I like and identify with that comment – strive to do the minimum.

    Is she unsafe? No
    Is she calling needing something? No
    Are the carers calling about something? No
    Does she have an appointment we need to take her too? No
    Is it time for her weekly outing? No

    Then am off the hook for the moment!! 🙂

    Sounds selfish, but I’ve found the more you give, the harder it is to pull back, and none of it is appreciated or remembered later (at least not by MIL).

    Yes we will always drop everything in a crisis and ensure she is safe and happy, but that she’s often lonely we can’t do much about… Just one of the compromises we have to make with this illness to protect our own sanity…

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  7. I read Gill’s post, wow lots to think about. My hubby is not one to say “Thank you” but I know in his heart he is really thankful for what I do for him. That is very sweet of you to accept your mom’s “Thank yous” and reply with “You are welcome”. Big hugs to you both

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