Re: what do you like most and dislike most about beign a caregiver?
I am the only caregiver for my 82-yr old Mom, who has non-tobacco emphysema (oxygen 24/7), osteoporosis, arthritis, and memory loss. I'd have help but the rest of our family is deceased, and she is still mobile enough to ban any outside help. What I like is the opportunity to help her; had I moved away I may not have been able to move back in time. But we've always lived nearby. I enjoy hearing her laugh, driving her to our favorite places to eat, and seeing any improvement (at this stage if she's still breathing I'm grateful).
I don't like not being able to do much more than make her comfortable and distract her from the inevitable; although she was put on an anti-anxiety med (buspar), she still blows off quite a bit of steam when she forgets names, events, etc, and then her lungs tighten up from self-induced stress. This worries the heck out of me. At first I hated the fact that I was the only caregiver, but after watching the arguing that goes on between other families' siblings, caregivers, etc, I am grateful for at least that much peace. The stress of family arguments would not do her any good. I am also grateful to have a friend of 43 years whose Mother has been my Mother's best friend also for 43 years. They have a large, nice, highly-functional family who always invite us to Christmas dinner. Once a month we get together for lunch, but Mom's friend is in a nursing home and cannot communicate well; this scares my Mom. But I'm happy they still see each other. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills so I have more job opportunities than retail sales (yecch) after I re-enter the paid work force.
Friends are God's way of apologising for relatives