Visit on Facebook Visit on Linked In Follow on Twitter


Caring for the Caregiver

     You probably know one; hopefully you haven't had to have one. But if you did, chances are he or she was an angel. Maybe you've suddenly become one. My "suddenly" began two years ago and is still running strong.

     Caregivers need to be taken care of, too. They need love, help, appreciation, and recognition. Most of all they need a break and that often isn't possible. A friend of ours had emphysema and needed round-the-clock help from her guy. He was there for her, loved her, managed her meds and her oxygen and everything else she needed and then one morning she called me. "Please come over. I think something's wrong. I don't know where Rich is."

     I arrived to find Rich had died during the night—of a heart attack. The caregiver had given his life. Luckily, Betty's son and daughter from out-of-state flew down to gather her and take her home with them—and thus they became caregivers.

     Caregivers need to be taken care of, too. How do you do that? When friends and family asked me what they could do to help, I choked back the words, "You could come stay with Paul for a week." I knew they couldn't do that. They had jobs to go to, families to care for, errands to run, bills to pay—they had a life. Depending on circumstances, it isn't always possible to lend a helping hand to a caregiver. But. . .

     Love is a real shot of happiness in a caregiver's life. You can feel the love when your son says he really wants to help but doesn't know how. You see the pain on his face. You feel the love when a new friend tells you he really wants to help; what can he do?

     "Don't worry, I can manage," you say. You're almost fibbing—you've been up all night and you're really, really tired and not sure you can go on. "That's okay. Maybe another time."

     Appreciation is always welcome. It gives a caregiver's heart a lift to know that someone recognizes what he or she is doing. A simple, "I don't know how you do it. You're a saint!" can carry a caregiver through a whole day—and a night, too. You know you're just doing what has to be done and you know you're lucky to have a care-ee who's patient and brave and gets along well with you.  Well, most of the time—can't expect too-o-o-o much. But it's nice to know someone knows what you're up against.

     If you're lucky, love comes mostly from the "care-ee," who appreciates what you do and tells you. I'm lucky to have a care-ee who says, "I love you, Mom." But there are days when your care-ee is frustrated and days when you are frustrated. Hopefully those days aren't the same day. Those are the worst! It's hard because you know your care-ee has so much more to put up with than you do: the frustration of losing control over the simplest things of daily life; the inability to take care of him or herself; the pain of the illness or disability. So what right have you to complain, be tired of it all, want to run off to a vacation isle—or just go out for a quiet dinner?

     Love, appreciation, help if you can give it, but what means more than anything to the caregiver is recognition, recognition of the hardship and the never-ending chores and assistance you're giving to a family member, a friend, or a stranger who's become your care-ee.

     Of course, a box of chocolates or a big spray of flowers wouldn't hurt...

Back to Smile-breaks


© Copyright 2016 Sheila Buska All Rights Reserved
Site Design & Maintenance by Dreamwirkz Web Designs, Inc.