Embracing the Suck of Dementia

embrace he suckApparently, this is a term that is familiar to those that have served in the military. As an Army brat with continued ties to my extended military family and familiar legacy, I hadn’t heard this term, but adore it’s simplicity and application for caregivers. In short “embrace the suck” is meant to convey that things won’t be easy, but others have been there and now it’s time to deal with it.

I remember having this sense at varied times during my own caregiving journey.

  • As I took over the finances and was feeling overwhelmed by the task, I recalled when Mom fought to maintain her checkbook and was indignant that we suggested she couldn’t manage.
  • When I found my Dad’s key wallet in my own key drawer, I reflected on how difficult it was to get them to stop driving. The DMV had rescinded their licenses yet they still kept driving. I watched as my Mom tore up the letters notifying them. Neither of them remembered being notified and thought I made it all up.
  • When I brought out a deck of cards to play with my Mom, a Bridge Life Master, and she had no interest in playing.

For all of those times when I feared for their safety and well-being, there was a moment when I recognized they no longer could or cared to try to fight for their independence. Those were the times when “embrace the suck” applied for me. My thoughts moved to new ways to engage with the individual in front of me that I often no longer recognized as Mom and Dad. Embraced.  

4 thoughts on “Embracing the Suck of Dementia

  1. When I was confronted with the fact my husband should no longer be driving, we luckily moved to another state where we had a 2nd house. We sold our other house that was in Florida. I convinced my husband we only needed one car where we were going and sold his car. Then when we had to get new driver’s license I told him he would have to study for his test. He said he could not pass a test. So then we got an ID card for him instead. It made the loss of the car/driver’s License transition so much easier. I was so lucky as I have seen other caregiver’s go through such hard times with this.

  2. Great expression!!! Embrace the suck! And great message behind it – loads of others have been there, have battled through and have made the best of it. Great expression and sentiment. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your parents in your caregiving role! Hope they’ve accepted they’re no longer legally allowed to drive!

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