What a stressed caregiver sounds like


“Give me a break,” Dad snaps.  “Do you think we keep this place a pigsty?” It is now 9pm and Mom has gone to bed. Dad’s been up since 4am.  He’s toast.

“Of course not,” I respond. “I seriously just want to know what you think about Diane coming up to put all your important papers in a fireproof box.”

“And just why would we need Diane to get our papers together? Do you think we are going to lose them or something?” Dad barks back.

Clearly, Diane’s well-intentioned offer has insulted Dad.  I take a deep breath, and then try a new approach.

“Last month, Diane moved her important papers to a fireproof box.  So she thought it would be nice to do the same thing for your papers.”

Dad pauses before replying. “I’ll have to ask your mother.  Anyway, why would she need to come all the way here do such a simple thing? I manage this place on my own just fine, you know.”

“The box is a gift Dad. A present,” I explain.  “And the visit is just because she loves you. It’s just that simple.  We love you, Dad.”

In these moments, I know that Alzheimer’s caregiving leaves Dad sleep-deprived, needing more patience, and yearning for even the smallest hint that the disease might be slowing down.  Still, it surprises me every time he comes back at me.  After all, I’m in touch. I’m trying. I care.

In time, I realize that, as Dad grows his Caregiver skills on this Alzheimer’s journey, I have an opportunity to grow my compassion and forgiveness skills. Plus patience, which has been on my growth list for years. 

We both have our work cut out for us.

Do you find your parent’s Alzheimer’s journey giving you opportunities to grow in surprising ways?  If so, how are you responding to these growth opportunities?


2 Replies to “What a stressed caregiver sounds like”

  1. Well I cried. Thinking of Christa and Buzzy and their girls and how difficult it was for them.

    Also I remembered how difficult my limited time with my brother, Bill, was who was so confused and hurtful to so many of his friends that he had loved so dearly.

    Fay Ivey

  2. Thank you for your comment, Fay.

    Alzheimer’s has a ripple effect through families. It starts with the Loved One who has the disease. Caring for the loved one with Alzheimer’s demands every resource a Caregiver has to give. Fatigued Caregivers pass it on to their children in things they say and do. Then we Alzheimer’s Kids pass it along to our spouses and children who support us.

    The Alzheimer’s Ripple Effect is the reason for this blog. I believe that when we notice that Alzheimer’s is the root cause of words and actions by family members, accept how they make us feel, forgive our Loved Ones, and let it all go, we strengthen our relationships and build one another up. This is my prayer for every reader and contributor to this blog.


    Barbara Ivey

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