Caregivers: What about us?

Yeah – what about us? Where did my life go? Does anyone fully understand the role of a caregiver?  If you don’t, I encourage you to find out because one day, you may find yourself in this very role, not knowing what to do or who to turn to.

I’m currently the caregiver for my 92 year-old mom and I’m here to tell that I have no idea how I got here.  It is not an easy task – you have to know this.  It is a life-altering task and I believe this is why many people would rather have their loved ones placed into a facility for the aged, instead of undertaking this rather arduous task.

For me, before I can make any move to do anything or go anywhere, I must first take into consideration what will happen to my mom in my absence.  It got to a point where I even had to give up my 9-5 job, as there were too many problems with me not being at home to supervise the various aides that were sent to take care of her on a daily basis.  It became too much and now that I’m at home managing her care, it has become much better.  But then comes the weekend when under the current program for which she qualifies, an aide is provided only long enough for her to get a bath, and have her room cleaned up.  That leaves me with the responsibility for the remainder of the day each Saturday and Sunday.

This has proven to be very restricting.  If I have to go out to run an errand or visit family – or even to do something fun, I have to be cognizant of the time so she isn’t left alone for extended periods.  You have no idea how frustrating this is – to be watching the clock every time I’m away.

You may ask me why don’t I just place her in a nursing home.  That’s easier said than done.  Firstly, my mom is not nursing home material; she has all her mental faculties in place, is very, very much against being placed in any such institution (we’ve tried it but to no avail), and is also a very costly option if she isn’t considered to be ill or completely disabled.  She therefore isn’t a candidate for neither a nursing home nor an assisted living facility.  Secondly, our family is Caribbean and where we’re from, you don’t ever place your loved one in any such facility unless it became an absolute necessity.

So is this part of how this responsibility came to fall in my lap.  Nonetheless, I perform the daily tasks for her care with great pride; after all – she took great care of me and my siblings, but I’m here to tell you, caregiving is not a task to be taken lightly.