Friday, April 10, 2015

Obvious Things About Caregiving, Insanity and Cognitive Decline

Me, in my declining memory years

There's a story making its rounds today titled Disability Caregiving May Lead to Memory Decline in Moms.

Sigh. Go on and read it, especially the parts where they talk about dads, except that for them they use the word fathers.***

Feminist language sigh.

It reminds me of another story -- years ago -- that demonstrated that providing care to a family member with a chronic illness or disability is not associated with increased risk of death in most cases, but may instead be associated with modest survival benefits for the caregivers. That one was titled Caregivers Live Longer, Study Says, and it was in the American Journal of Epidemiology. I wrote about it here.

Both articles were in a pretty decent disability aggregator website called Disability Scoop whose digest I receive once or twice a week in my inbox. 

Can I be honest? 

Studies annoy me and seem, sometimes, like a giant waste of time and money. Take a good look at me and any number of my comrades in arms (except perhaps for the everything is a blessing and everything has a meaning and is part of God's plan people), and it's pretty clear that we have a hard road to hoe. Do we really need to be studied before getting some help from the Powers That Be? I read about memory decline in "moms" who do the majority of caregiving and think, no shit, Sherlock.  And given that my comrades-in-arms are also some of the strongest, most kick-ass REAL tiger women on the planet, I think no shit, Sherlock, when I hear that we live longer than "normal" folk.

As far as the new study goes, maybe losing your memory in a long, long life ain't such a bad deal, anyway.

Right, Moms?

***Before you get your boxers or tightie whities in a wad, I know there are plenty of dads -- or fathers -- out there doing the primary caregiving of their disabled children. This post doesn't include or exclude you.


  1. The only thing I can say right now is that I love the suggestion of one of the commenters that the study dollars spent on this be instead shunted to respite care for mothers and fathers caring for children with disabilities.

  2. Um, yeah....I think maybe I remember reading that article somewhere...but I don't remember where....

  3. Um, well, I guess the epidemiologists have to do something to show their importance (sarcasm intended) and I agree with the person who suggested those funds would be better spent providing respite services to caregivers...As an adult woman with a lifelong developmental disability, I get no respite from that, nor do I get respite from laundry, bills, pets, cooking, maintaining a flat or organizing myself to use the abysmal service that passes for transport in this community, among many other things, so I quite get your point...

  4. i will have to read this has been my understanding that caregivers have SHORTENED lives, which is why respite care is so critical for them. I know when living with my mother and providing care, my mental and physical health deteriorated significantly. And I love her, and I was glad to be of service. But honestly, since I moved out 2 years ago, my health has improved considerably. I'm so confused.

  5. Although I am NOT nor will ever be the caregiver you are, I mostly always have been one.
    It is exhausting, even on a "normal" level. I cannot imagine doing it on the level that you and other tiger mamas and dads do it. I cannot.

  6. I hope I die before I go lulu but if I do I hope it is the type of dementia that my client that I spoke of yesterday. She is happily (using her son's word) bonkers.

  7. Studies are the bane of my existence. They spend millions of dollars and the reward themselves with dinners and testimonials for using some sort of "scientific" method to prove the obvious. We already know that PEOPLE WHO DON'T SLEEP ARE CHRONICALLY TIRED. Give me the millions I'll throw you a dinner and pat you on the back

  8. I'm really surprised to see you be so dismissive/flippant (losing your memory in a long, long life ain't such a bad deal) of the difficulties with dementia.
    Losing your memory isn't a joke - ask a patient or caregiver.

    1. Anonymous -- my apologies. I'm often a flippant person, and I can understand your taking offense to my remark. My intent was not to poke fun at demential or at those caring for someone with dementia. My point (however distasteful) was that losing my memory of some of the past twenty years of caregiving could be a blessing in some respects. I speak for myself, though.



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