As I have related before, I was not a direct caregiver for my grandparents as their health failed due to Parkinson’s and other contributing ailments. I was the a shoulder for and outside observer for my mother and aunt. But now I am learning a little about caregiving directly, albeit in a much different context.
My fiancé’s brother and sister-in-law had their first child in February, the first nephew and grandchild in both of their families. My nephew is a very happy and healthy little guy. His mother was able to have an extended maternity leave, but it ended at the beginning of April. His father is a professional cellist in addition to owning his own business coordinating musicians for weddings and other events. As a result of the end of the maternity leave, my in-laws needed some help to watch my nephew so mom could got back to work and dad could spend more time on his musical career.
My nephew’s parents surprised me when they invited me to be essentially a respite provider for him so they could more fully resume their careers. I have been enjoying the time I get to spend with my nephew, even the short times when he has his fussiness and breakdowns. Thankfully, those moments are really only when he needs to be changed, fed or is trying to fight off a nap. Besides, his smile instantly melts away any frustration from the last moments of his being upset.
So I’m learning to be a caregiver to my nephew, albeit in a much different context than Parkinson’s. My reward is my nephew’s smile and the chance to get to know each other more.
What have you found to be rewards in caring for your loved ones?
I hope for many smiles between caregivers and their loved ones with Parkinson’s in tough times and joy.