A response to a person new to caregiving, trying to figure out what to do while at the same time, grieving what has been lost.
I have been the caregiver to my husband for 10 years.In those early years, I regularly reminded myself who he had been before the stroke–vibrant, sharp, fun, funny, successful–all things that the stroke took away from him.It was important for me to remember those things and treat him like that person, not as a victim or an invalid.Even though he was terribly disabled, our interaction was always about working toward a new normal that valued a good man.
One thing that really helped us was setting goals together.Setting goals allowed us to look forward and move forward.Yes, I took care of his needs, but working together on recovery and a useful life was essential. We got excited each day to see what he could do.We did not focus on what we lost.We focused on the new life we were creating.It wasn’t easy.We also had kids at home who needed mom and dad.I like to think one day they will reflect on those years and know what love and commitment really look like.
My husband deserved the best I had to give.In return, he gives his best.I hope you, the team, and your friend can rally and help him create a meaningful life.It isn’t easy but it is worth doing.Good luck.