You Are Going To Mess This Up

Hey Caregivers–

I think the world of you, and I have so much confidence in your ability to give care, but let me say this.

You are going to mess this up.

Yeah, I said what I said.

You won’t be a failure at caregiving but you are going to fail.

You will say the wrong thing. You will make the wrong choice. You will do something and later realize it was a mistake. You are going to have some wins, but you’re also going to have some losses.

Maybe you move the furniture and your loved one with dementia freaks out. Perhaps you say something that upsets them for an entire day. Sometimes you respond impatiently when you are answering the question for the 35th time before 10 a.m. Or a trip to watch a parade downtown turns out to be less pleasant than expected because it’s just too much.

A woman I know was cooking and had to use the restroom. When she came back, her husband with Alzheimer’s was pulling a casserole dish out of the oven without a potholder.

Another caregiver told me she once gave her spouse the dog’s medication. She couldn’t get ahold of his doctor, but she called the vet. He was fine, but she was horrified she made this mistake.

Caregiving isn’t the type of position you can quit. You can write a letter of resignation but there’s no one to accept it.

Maybe you messed up. You have to keep going.

Caregiving can be a lot. It’s mentally exhausting, anxiety-provoking, and sleep-depriving. (Is sleep-depriving an actual term or did I just make it up?)

Of course you mess up. Of course you make mistakes.

And it’s okay.

Let it go. Move on.

You weren’t a perfect child/spouse/family member before, and you certainly aren’t going to be one now that dementia is in the mix.

Keep doing your imperfect best.

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