When life throws surprises your way you never really think about what exactly that might turn out to be. In my case it was becoming a Caregiver.
There are plenty of caregivers out there. Some are caregivers of special needs people. Then we have caregivers of disabled people from military personnel to those who were born disabled. You even have caregivers of churches, volunteers of disaster relief and the list goes on.
In my particular life, I was the main caregiver to a mother with dementia; first diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. I had no idea what the future would hold in that specific category.
Never in a million years did I ever believe I would have a parent with any kind of dementia. After all, that happens in other families not mine, right?
How do we even come to that conclusion? Do we think our genes are better than someone elses’ and we’re special? What right does anyone have to think that way? God says we are all created equal. It doesn’t matter what color you are or even what ethnicity you might be. We are all created equal. Period.
So why did this happen in my family? I asked that question myself. In time I will learn the answer to that.
I researched Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and it was astounding. According to the Alzheimer’s Association reports, the population in the U.S. age 65 and older continues to increase. Yes, people are living much longer today. By 2025 the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is estimated to reach 7.1 million people. That’s a 40% increase in 2015. By 2050 the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s may nearly triple to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease.
Over half of primary caregivers of people with dementia take care of parents. These are real statistics and I became one of those statistics.
Becoming a statistic as a caregiver has proven to have some positive outcome for me. Sharing and helping other caregivers find their way in this unexpected role just might become my new focus and part of a new purpose.
If you’ve become a statistic and have had similar thoughts to mine, feel free to comment or ask questions. Caregivers all over need to share so they don’t feel isolated and alone.