Friday, July 21, 2017
I just read another caregiver's blog entry that was written a few years ago. In it, the author is discussing that she has heard several caregivers express that if they are ever diagnosed with Alzheimer's that they will tell their children to "just shoot me". The author was upset by this sentiment because she* felt that it lessened the value of her mother's life -that Alzheimer's patients, somehow, don't have a purpose. I understand what she's saying, I just think that there is another side to it.
I have never said those words, but I understand the feeling behind the words. I have told my girls that it's okay to put me in a home and just walk away if they choose. It's not that my life won't be of value or have purpose, all lives have purpose. I don't have to be with them to have value. I want them to be able to live their lives without the evilness of this disease taking away so much that they've already given once. It means that they have the freedom to make choices that are good for their lives, with no guilt. If they choose to stick with me through it all, that's fine too. I just want them to know that I recognize the sacrifices they have made and the compassion and selflessness they've already freely given. They've paid their dues. It's their choice.
Whether we say "just shoot me" or "send me away", I think we're actually saying, "I love you and you deserve to live your life. I don't expect you to make me your burden."
*I am assuming the caregiver is a woman simply because 2/3 of all Alzheimer's caregivers are female.