This is what I learned from taking care of my Mother.
Taking care of someone else is about learning to live with ambiguity. Often times there are no right or wrong answers just different opinions. Caring for an elder is often about choosing the lesser evil.
Be prepared to fight hard for what matters most to you and your family member. A sad fact about our society is that agism exists and elders are often discounted or overlooked. When your loved one is mentally impaired (my mom suffered from Alzheimer's disease) be prepared to fight even harder.
There are no big victories, no end zone dances when caring for your family member. Just the quiet satisfaction of knowing you did your best.
Family members bring a very special expertise to the table when meeting with doctors, counselors, social workers and elder care providers. Families bring the passion! Professionals may try to tell you that your passion is misplaced, messy or co-dependent. Stay engaged and passionate, you know your family member better than they do.
America does not have an elder care system. We have variety of resources provided by private industry, non-profit organizations and the government. Finding what your family member needs is a constant uphill climb.
I learned a lot more about myself, what I could do and what I couldn't. I learned to be more courageous and more loving. I learned to live in the moment and find pleasure in the small things.
What will you learn?