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5 Strategies for a Caregiver’s Survival

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Illustration of blue flowers and origami boats

Lifeboat by Elizabeth Tomasetii

We—who are still trying to figure out our own lives—are fast becoming lifeboats for the faded and fading generations who at one time gave us life. Waving their white hankies, helpless but hopeful, they are asking us to slow down. More than mere assistance, they seek kindness. Just a whisper, some small assurance that their existence, too, has meaning.My own story, like yours, is both unique and familiar. I help care for a married couple, my own beloved time-travelers. They perceive themselves in the flower of their 30s: They are exasperated when I won’t let them drive or make a sandwich or purchase the shiny gizmo beguiling them on TV. They are also endearing. After almost 70 years of marriage they still hold hands, blow kisses. Frail and often confused—except with each other—they can’t take care of themselves anymore. That’s where my husband and I step in.If your mother-father-uncle-neighbor-friend is dealing with dementia, Parkinson’s, or an advanced stage of neuropathy, then I know what you’re going through. So are mine. That’s why—as I watch one of my time-travelers totter across the living room—I a …

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