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Living the Praxis for Care 

Caregiving Epiphany: Embracing the Role of a 'Single Mom' to My Parent with Dementia

I had a conversation recently with a friend that I hadn't talked to in a really long time and during the conversation I wound up describing myself as being a single mom to my mom.

He got quiet for a moment and then said, you know, that's interesting. I never heard it described that way before. I explained that my description comes from an encounter that I had with my mom a few years ago before her verbal skills eroded.

I was putting her dinner on the tray and getting ready to feed her one evening and she looked at me and she said "Mommy." And then she said it again, "Mommy." My first reaction was to correct her and tell her, no, I'm your daughter.

But then when I thought about it, I realized, yeah, maybe I am her mommy. I bathe her and dress her in the morning. I make sure that she has appropriate clothes for the season and that they're always clean and neat and she looks nice like she always liked.

I prepare her meals.

I clean the house.

I drive her to appointments.

I take her on outings and at the end of the day.

I put on her pajamas and tuck her into bed.

But the most important thing that I do is to make the decisions and take actions that ensure that we have the best life possible.

So I guess I am the mommy because that's what moms do. Support their kids. Birth made me her daughter, but life made me her mom. Thinking about my role as the family caregiver in that way really helps me embrace how important what I do is.

Our mothers are our first teachers. They teach us how to see the world and they help us find our place in it. Being my mom's mom gives me the opportunity to share who I am so that she can continue to be who she is.

Alzheimer's dementia has taken away her independence, but being her family caregiver allows her to have independence through me. Thinking about my role as being a single mom to my mom helps me really honor the role that I've been given.

I'm glad I did the hard work to change our relationship, but I have to say it was my mom who taught me how to fight through difficulties to get what I want.

My encouragement for you this week is to remember who you are as you give care to your loved one and yourself.

Be well until next time.

Dr. Sheri


Dr. Sheri L. Yarbrough is an author, caregiver, and founder of Praxis Senior Care-Giving Solutions, a consulting business that provides working care-givers with practical and easily implemented strategies that can be tailored to meet their individual care needs.

View Dr. Yarbrough's weekly blog on all things caregiving from a caregiver's perspective.

Listen to Dr. Yarbrough's Podcast: Straight Talk for Giving-Care.



Prayers up, Blessings up to you!

God has given you amazing gifts!

A heart that is kind with Loving, Caring and Providing, for a beautiful woman (your mother).

Stay Strong, mentally and physically.

God is in control, he has you in his Arms!



You are an amazing woman and I am in awe of your ability to navigate this new norm while also juggling your own journey as a woman. It's a labor of love but it certainly seems that you have figured out a way to travel this unchartered terrain in a loving and patient way. Thank you for sharing your stories with us🌺

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