YOU MIGHT BE A CAREGIVER

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If these situations sound familiar, then you’re probably a caregiver

ARE YOU A CAREGIVER?

Recently on Bob DeMarco’s Alzheimer’s Reading Room  I read a post by Jeff Foxworthy about the possibility that “you might be a caregiver.”  From what he tells us, he already is.  Not only were his notes humorous, but many of the comments that followed were equally funny or applicable —  especially those where other caregivers relate.

WHO ARE CAREGIVERS?

I think of caregivers as those persons who care for others who are infirmed in one way or another.  For so many of us we care for loved ones or others who have Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are caregivers who extend themselves to all sorts of illnesses and disabilities.  Yes.  We are all caregivers.

The total definition includes caregiving from hundreds of miles away relaying instructions via email, phone conversations and any other way that communicates  between the patient and/or other concerned individuals who actually do what needs to be done at the patient’s home or elsewhere.   Caregivers can also be those who have placed their loved one in a care facility and makes sure the bills are paid.  Hoever, the caregiving that I am most familiar with is “HANDS-ON CAREGIVING.”  Apparently, Foxworthy falls into that catagory with his opening statement:

HANDS-ON CAREGIVING

“Did you ever try to hold a door open with your butt, and then push a wheelchair through it? You might be a caregiver.”  Now for me, that defines a “hands-on caregiver.”  From that point on the comments from readers which followed totally defined those hard-working-hands-on caregivers who are often on duty 24/7.  Their comments I’ll paraphrase and include some of my own and from friends who have been caregivers.

LAUGHS FOR LATER

Sheila cleaned the bathroom floor eliminating the slip and slide after her loved one experienced an explosive diarrhea episode.  Sound familiar to anyone?

My mother-in-law hid valuables.  Before she and my father-in-law agreed to direct deposit, she would hide their SS checks.  When I arrived to take the two of them to the bank we had to find the checks.  “What are we looking for?”  Rose constantly asked as we rummaged through drawers, closets and cabinets.  Repeating over and over what we were hunting for and why, I finally found the checks hidden between the folds of the sheets in the linen closet.  The helpful thing about that hiding place was I always looked there first.   They do the hiding and the caregiver seeks.If you have played hide and seek, you might be a caregiver.

Cleaning out their desk which was stuffed with odds and ends of mostly worthless papers I found a refund check from their insurance company which had never been cashed and squirreled away for safety. Fortunately, the company was happy to send a replacement which went straight to the bank.

Amber told of her loved one holding the remote next to his ear calling out, “Hello, hello.”  For me my Ken put our remote in our office claiming it was one of his engineering tools.

If you know the best deals when buying adult diapers, or if you’ve pounded your pillow with your fist and cried in the shower,you might be a caregiver.

If you find youself doing chores: mopping, dusting, cleaning while the loved one catnaps, you must be a caregiver. If there are times you think you’re living in the Twilight Zone,  and you yearn for a small, smidgen of privacy it’s normal. Heather closed her comment with “If you are a multi-tasking bad-ass, you might be a caregiver.  Hang in there caregivers.”

If you hand the phone to your loved one when you know it’s a telemarketer, you are a caregiver with a sense of humor, and it’s humor that gets us through sad and often miserable times. Without humor life becomes much too serious and often unbearable.

AD victim Nick was convinced that the Ace in a deck of cards was worth $15.00.  With his found Ace he paid for his haircut and told his bewildered barber to keep the change.

IT’S THE DISEASE

Believing that I was an intruder in his home, my Alzheimer’s-stricken husband insisted that I leave.  “But I live here,” I tried to convince him.  “Then show me your rental agreement.” he demanded.

My mother verbally tossed my father out of their room when she said, “Get out of here sir, I am not that kind of girl!”  He left and slept in another room, but was so hurt by the rejection that he told me he would never go back.  He didn’t.  Azheimer’s does that between loved ones even though we, with our clear- thinking and understanding minds know that the illness is speaking not a loving wife of 70 years.

A person signed into Foxworthy’s short blog as Scribe and  summed it up with a lovely and poignant thought “But in that little shadow of the absurd is lurking a grimace, and we know that our loved one would walk through fire rather than deliberately put us through these tough times.  Yes!  Remember that over and over.  They can’t help it, but we can help them.”

If you can relate, especially as a “Hands-on caregiver,” then we, your fellow HO caregivers cheer and salute you.

Originally posted 2014-01-12 18:34:33.

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