My caregiver experience started when I was 17 years old. My father has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. As the disease progressed, there was no one to care for my father. Someone had to do it. At first, it was more of an obligation. But then it also became a choice and I was happy to do it. What caregiving has taught me is how much stronger I am than I thought I was. And, how much more resilient and patient I am. And also, how much more loving I can be. I’m not the same person I was when I started. I wouldn’t trade this experience now for anything.
My advice for other young caregivers is to take care of yourself. If I let my physical and mental health slide, then I would not be able to take care of my dad. And also, to have compassion for yourself, as well as the person you’re caring for. Not every moment is going to be easy, but there will be golden moments that make it all worth it.