But slowly he became dependent on me and my world narrowed to be with him which I enjoyed until the balance between us shifted significantly and I became his caregiver--and nothing else. There wasn't room, physically or emotionally. I felt drained.
I discovered journalling to relieve my stress and the computer permitted me to be present for my husband and write until I had enough material to write a book.
Not all caregivers find this particular outlet, but we all need to find something other than caregiving to sustain us. Support groups help because other friends and family sometimes don't understand the stresses of caregiving a person with dementia-related illnesses. We need to have other outlets because when the final separation occurs, it always seems so sudden and the world of the caregiver feels empty.
In one of my support groups now, six members continue to participate altough they have lost their spouses or parent. In the other support group three members continue to participate after their spouses passed away. Those of us whose spouses or parent reside in a memory care unit are having difficulty transitioning from caregiver to single adult.
I have continued writing and my second book The Secret Key-A Journey of Discovery Generations After the Holocaust has been accepted for publication by Inkwell Productions who will also reissue Put That Knife Away. I will continue to speak with groups about Alzheimer's disease and I have begun work on what will now be my third book which will describe the difficult process of placing a loved one in a care setting outside his/her home, probably titled The Trauma of Out of Home Placement.