A new year, and this begins my month-long blog-a-day

Here we are, into a brand new 2011, and as every year, I will be trying to make one blog entry on this blog every day for the month of January. All 31 days of January, every day, I’ll try to write a non-trivial post sharing my thoughts on stuff, typically caregiving and dementia and life choices, as I did in January last year and the year before that. I won’t  sacrifice my first-born for it, but I’ll definitely try. This is probably the only target I set myself each year, and I hope I can meet it.

A small recap: I started blogging in June 2008, at a time when I was overwhelmed and felt very helpless and alone. I blogged mainly to sort out my thoughts; I didn’t really expect anyone to drop by to read the posts. I thought writing would help me, and I blogged to sort out my thoughts and get back my ability to talk to myself. It was as simple as that.

Then people started writing back, telling me that the blog resonated with them. That it helped them to know what I’d gone through…I continued blogging…

After a while, as my overwhelm with my own caregiving reduced, I started helping other caregivers and found that my blog was actually useful to them. I made many friends through my blog, and often had an opportunity to talk to other caregivers and share experiences with them, even help them. My blog became the reason I “met” people from other countries facing similar situations, and sometimes they mentioned me in their blogs.

I hadn’t been blogging so regularly in 2010 (after the January blogfest burst of 31 blogs in a month) because I didn’t think I had that much left to say and was focusing on setting up a comprehensive online resource for caregivers for dementia patients in India.  Whatever time I had to spare from my mother’s caregiving, I was using in setting up these resources (the site is Dementia Care Notes) and in conducting awareness programs for dementia, or training caregivers in Bangalore, where I live. I often chatted up with caregivers from Bangalore and other cities, even Indians living abroad, sharing where I could, helping where I could. Blogging took a back-seat except for sporadic entries.

Then, in November 2010, I received an e-mail from MedicalTranscription.net saying I’d been “featured” in a “top dementia blog” list. (Edited in September 2012 to note: the awards have since been discontinued, so I have removed the link). The notification came as a (very pleasant) surprise, of course. Most importantly, it reminded me of the sense of opening up that blogging about my own experiences gave me. Perhaps, I thought, blogging has its own value, and that I should probably continue to share my thoughts through my blog even as I work in other areas.

As I said above, I plan to blog through January this year again. My work with other caregivers and patients last year has given me a wider perspective about dementia and caregiving, and my attempts to create a comprehensive website for caregivers of dementia patients has also brought up its own share of insights and concerns. As I talk to other caregivers, I find memories rushing back at me—-incidents in the early days of my mother’s dementia when I hadn’t realized that her behaviour was caused by an organic brain disease, and I had been frustrated and angry, and so had she. It all seems so unfortunate in hindsight, but there must be others who, today, are in the state I was ten years ago, and perhaps there is merit in sharing those incidents and mistakes.

A few days ago, my son asked me, if there was one thing you would suggest that people do differently in their care, what would that be? That’s a question that needs exploring, too.

So yes, I am taking out my pad today and jotting down possible topics for posts to make all through the month. Wish me luck!

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About Swapna Kishore
I'm a writer, blogger, and resource person for dementia/ caregiving in India. I have also been a dementia caregiver for well over a decade, and am deeply concerned about dementia care in India; on this blog I share my personal caregiving journey, my experiences as a resource person for dementia care, and musings on life, aging, dementia in India, and such sundries. More about me and the work I do for dementia care. For structured information on dementia, for discussions, tools and tips on caregiving issues, for resources in India, and for caregiver interviews, please check my website http://dementiacarenotes.in (or its Hindi version, http://dementiahindi.com). For videos on dementia caregiving (English and Hindi), check the youtube channel here.

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