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22 Secrets People Caring For Loved Ones Will Never Tell You

Life as you know it completely changes.

1. Your days of weekend lie-ins are over.

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2. And if you do manage to get a lie in, you'll spend it worrying that things aren't being done the right way.

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3. At first, being in charge of someone's wellbeing feels really scary.

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To start with, you'll all look at each other cluelessly. “What you do think?” “No, but what do YOU think?” “I don’t know!” Don't worry, though, this soon passes. And FYI, there's no substitute for being around someone 24 hours a day.

4. And you'll often feel like GPs and their receptionists are imbeciles.

5. You'll soon learn that experience doesn't count for everything.

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You'll realise that doctors think they know everything because they have textbooks and training. But you'll know when something is wrong from a facial expression, a mood, or a certain sound.

6. Carers, as well as the people they care for come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.

Vinoth Chandar / Via Flickr: vinothchandar

Yes, he is my grandfather. What do you mean, "Why do I do it?" If he were my kid you wouldn’t question me.

7. Spontaneity soon goes out the window. An evening out takes military-precision planning.

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8. When the person you're caring for is sad, you're like:

9. But when they're happy, you’re all:

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10. You call your pharmacist more times a week than you call your friends.

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11. And you pretty much become a nurse overnight.

Before you know it, you're able to check blood pressure, blood sugar, oxygen levels, and administer meds with your eyes closed.

12. You dream of your loved one walking and talking like they used to ALL the time.

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13. And when they go into hospital you have to learn to be firm with nurses because you're the person who knows the patient best.

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14. This is the truth.


Which means you end up trying to catch 5 minutes of sleep whenever and wherever you can.

15. You sometimes find yourself feeding your loved one dinner at midnight, 1am, or 2am. He eats when he eats.

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And you just learn to fit around that.

16. It’s the worrying that kills you. The physical looking after is easy. The worrying is unbearable.

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17. Every minute is different. One minute they're doing great, and the next they’re not.

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18. But your love for them grows in ways you never knew were possible.

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19. And although you may cry more than ever before...

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20. ... you'll also laugh more than ever.

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You'll laugh at your own mistakes, laugh at the stupidity of others, and at anything your loved one says or does with a smile.

21. It’s hard work but it’s not that hard. It can be done.

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You just need to be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can do.

22. And you'll soon realise there is a world of carers out there, an army of people all looking after others.

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You just didn't know it until it happened to you.

Want to read more from the Carers' Issue? Shane Burcaw wrote about the hilarious and incredibly awkward realities of being cared for by loved ones. Alex Andreou described how caring for his mother gave him the best birthday he'd ever had. Tom Chivers pulled together 11 charts that show how care will evolve in the UK over the next several years. Alex Taylor-Beal and Stephanie Crack talked about the change in their relationship when Alex became Stephanie's carer after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her second year of university.

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