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Caregiving is "the hardest job you'll ever do." My husband and I cared for my mother for several years. Our situation allowed us to move in with her when it became clear that she needed someone to help her out. (We have no children and both have careers that allow a fair amount of flexibility.) We were able to stay with her and allow her to die peacefully at home - her home of 54 years. But if you consider a stress scale where "2" is spilling your morning coffee and "20" is being worried about your job, long-term caregiving is somewhere around "100." However, with all the down sides there are up sides as well. It is a rewarding and enriching experience that we wouldn't have traded.
My sister was available for carefully planned vacations. She lives 2000 miles away but we could work with her schedule so that she could come and stay with Mom so we could get away for a time. That helped a great deal. We also had a "companion" from Home Instead who visited for a few hours twice a month so that we could go out for a movie, or have an early dinner out, or some other thing. These opportunities were invaluable for us; they kept us sane. Having each other (to help do things, to allow one to go out shopping, etc) also helped keep us from stressing out entirely.
After Mom died, it took a year or more for us to really start to get back to something like "normal." They tell you that, but it is hard to believe. The experience damaged my business partially because I could not "get back in the swing" quickly enough for my business partner.
Because my husband is a writer and was blogging about the experience while we were doing it, and because we save all our e-mails and such, we had the beginnings of a very good memoir about our experiences. We met another couple who lived a similar scenario at about the same time and did similar writing about it. So we have now combined all of them into a rather unique book about the caregiving process. Unique because it talks about the experience while it is happening, warts and all. The book is Her Final Year, and has garnered very positive reviews. It is especially valuable because you can use it as a touchstone when you are in the process, to see how other people handled a situation, to see that your reaction is not horrible but natural in your situation.
The book is available online and is supported by a website: http://www.herfinalyear.com The latest blog post on that website talks about the rewards of being a caregiver; the "benefits of caregiving." I hope you'll read it.