Monday, September 3, 2012


When I think about it, it's actually quite funny. I am an expert on a subject (or several small sub-subjects under a subject heading, if you can even say that.) that I never expected to be. I have become well-versed and knowledgeable on the subject of Dementia, and it's sub-headings of Lewy Body, caregiving, the elderly, end of life issues, hospice and palliative care, grief, loss, and bereavement. I don't think it's the kind of thing a little kid says they want to do when they grow up - it's certainly not glamorous, but I think I'm happy to own it.

Whether I'm a guest on a webcast about caregiving, or I'm counseling someone I am struck by how much knowledge I have amassed, how many resources I can put my hands on, and just how much personal experience I've actually had. It's really only the second thing in my life that I've been this well-versed in, this confident in my skill set. It's one of the few things in my life that I've been really, really good at, if that doesn't sound too weird.

I imagine that a lot of my fellow caregivers,family members of dementia-sufferers, and folks who've lost a loved one might feel the same way. I've read several books now written by the spouses or caregivers of people with dementia, and it's a pretty constant theme; the fact that, after the initial shock, they've become an expert in an illness they probably had never heard of, but now could tell you everything about! Once again, not a thing they would probably prefer to know so much about. But they did it because they had to, there was no other choice, in their opinion, and I know how they feel. I bet their charge was thankful that they had someone so strong and knowledgeable on their side.

I can't say I would have chosen this as my field of expertise, it wouldn't have been my first choice in pastimes. It has, however, given me a purpose that has more meaning and importance then many of the careers I could have chosen, and for that, I have to be thankful. Because of my hours of research and study, my experiences with my Father, and the training and mentorship of compassionate experts, I've been able to be of service to families and caregivers. As much work as its been, I can actually say I'm grateful, because if there's one person who needs, deserves, actually, as much help and care as possible, its a caregiver.

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