For months now, I’ve been planning a dear friend’s bridal shower. This weekend, we finally got the chance to celebrate—safely!—with a drive-thru style event. And let me tell you: planning a special party while caregiving is no simple feat!
Even though my whole family shares the responsibility of caring for my grandmother, there are times when I have a lot to do—but I’m the only one available to stay with her.
Though stressful at times, planning the shower helped me reflect on ways to include my grandmother in as many of my daily activities as possible—and that doing so was mutually beneficial! The experience also made me think about family involvement as a whole.
To include my grandmother meant that I had to make intentional decisions—even if they were inconvenient in the moment.
Instead of working at the dining room table and going in to check on her every few minutes, I moved all of my supplies to her bedroom and sat next to her while I worked.
Then, instead of just working next to her, I showed her every flower that I made, and let her go through the same slow, delicate motions every time of observing the bright colors—even though I felt like I should be working faster.
Then, instead of just showing her the flowers as I made them, I gave her a job to help with: she was in charge of fluffing the petals (my plan) and spritzing them with perfume if they didn’t smell like a flower (her idea)!
My “all-inclusive” game plan shifted constantly based on my grandmother’s interest and energy—and my own supply of patience. But I believe keeping the person in your care engaged in activities—despite the challenges—is better than cutting them off from your daily life.
A bit of patience was required on this day, when my grandmother got hot and decided to pull her blanket off while I was looking away. Petals and scraps of paper everywhere!!-Eliza Brown
Looking back, the moments I will treasure the most from this shower won’t be how it turned out, but how we got there:
- the quiet afternoons by my grandmother’s bed, tracing flower petals onto magazine pages…
- the evenings spent outside with my dad as he leaned on his crutches, demonstrating the most vivid example of patience with his slow movements as we built a photo booth out of an old door…
- the hot, hectic day-of, when my siblings and mom all filled their cars with our handmade decorations and worked so hard to make every detail beautiful...
These are the unique heartbeats of every celebration, and these are the precious moments that make caregiving while still enjoying life possible.
Remember this too: how you enjoy life while caregiving will look different for each family. We’d love to hear how you do it! Please share your stories of balancing life and caregiving in the comments below.
Millennial caregiver Eliza Brown shares her experiences in caring for Aj, her beloved grandmother, on our social media networks and here on the blog. Don’t miss a single Aj/Eliza adventure: follow us on Instagram and Facebook.