Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

The Life of a Caregiver

52 Comments

Life is strange, isn’t it?

I have to wonder sometimes at its fairness – how some of us get to stay relatively healthy while we watch our loved-ones fall apart.

Some believe it’s all predestined: were those who are put into the role of caregiver always meant to be one? Were they somehow chosen? I’ve heard it said that people who have ended up caring for others may be challenged by a higher power… that they are, by divine intervention, simply the person for the job. Some are able to make their own choice to work in the service of those who are less fortunate, or who are sick, some have no choice other than the choice to run away.

I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason, though not necessarily in a mystical sense. Good and bad must always have a balance. The weights tip back and forth but nothing is ever absolute. Therefore what weakens us or challenges us can also strengthen us. Positivity can be found in the worst imaginable scenario, if we look hard enough.

What I struggle with mostly is deciding whether being the healthy one is a blessing or a curse. At first glance you think those who are ill have it the worst – and they do. There is no questioning that. But. What of the caregiver, having to watch those he or she loves suffer so?

I suppose it all comes down to the old adage, life is what you make it. In the darkest times, light can be found. But for whom is it hardest to find?

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

52 thoughts on “The Life of a Caregiver

  1. It really doesn’t matter why or by what means you’ve come to be in the position that you are in right now. All that matters is that this is the situation and there is a person whose quality of life is dependant on you and your ability to provide for them, whether it be their physical or emotional needs. You just need to find the strength to continue doing the best that you can for them. To give them the strength to fight and pull themselves back together, or the comfort and reassurance that a loved one is holding them up while they fall apart. I just pray that there is also someone who will give you the strength that you need to the best that you can.

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    • That’s where the difficulty often comes in – even finding the time for a caregiver to take care of herself is a challenge, and that includes allowing someone else to help.
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. 🙂

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  2. Yes, I totally hear and understand the forces that caregivers face and appreciate your writing about them. Thinking of you..

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  3. Someone might have already said this, but it can’t be said enough: Caregiver’s need help too. We often don’t wan to ask for help, but we need to, because you can’t serve from an empty vessel.

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  4. That’s a tough question. It’s certainly not easy for the person who is not well. But the caregiver does have to take care of himself or herself too. I think that’s what the hardest part is for a caregiver to know how to reach out and to learn how to take care of themselves. Self-care is not easy. Many caregivers think it’s too selfish to think of themselves and yet if they don’t where does that leave the person who is ill?

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  5. Insightful post, Linda. Watching my mom take care of my dad right now is hard…she is his caregiver, and my brother and I try to be hers, as best we can, when she lets us…

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  6. Ah, Linda, I have been (and will continue, I’m sure) to be in trouble when I am as concerned about the carer as I am about s/he who is ill. People who do the caring also need to be cared for and can’t always give it back – they’re often sapped. I’ve been known to tell them to be kind to themselves…. I also know, from personal experience, after my mother died, when someone (now The Husband), when I returned to Cape Town, made the most insightful and caring comment I had heard over that hard time, it was profound. And it hit home. He said that I deserved to grieve because all I had done over the preceding weeks had been to care for my father and deal with family issues. Well, he was so right. A rare man, The Husband. And take Gale’s advice.

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  7. Caregiving is an exhausting privilege, both I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on 61chrissterry and commented:
    Unless you are a caregiver you can not comprehend the resolve, the will, the energy and time and patience needed to provide quality care. You’re concentrating on the person requiring and wishing to be cared for and rarely consider yourself. When you do it is then that you may realise how your own health is deteriorating and who then cares for you.

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  9. Hi Linda, you raise a very important point here about the role of the caregiver. I know that when I was caring for my dad I would become very resentful of my brother and sister as they gave me very little if any respite. Dad’s last Christmas at home his decline had well and truly set in and at the same time I was being trialled on drugs to see if my condition was viral or genetic. The drugs I had to take knocked me around badly and I would do for dad what had to be done and then go and lie down. All six week summer break was spent like that. I did very resentful on that occasion. But you carry on as you want life to be a s pleasant as you can make it for the person you are caring for. Its later that you realise how tough it has been. The other down side is being up close and personal with your parents decline. Thanks for reading this far, sorry if its been a bit of a rant…..this topic does it to me.

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  10. I share your belief that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is hard to keep that in mind when stuff happens. Bless you.

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  11. Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    Caregivers are Angels in disguise

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  12. Caregiving is indeed a challenge. After my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we tried to keep her in her apartment for as long as possible so she could retain her independence. But I had to have her screened by a nurse, hire a part-time home health care aide (private care was incredibly expensive) and eventually got her an aide through Medicaid but they only provided her with 5 hours of care / day, Monday through Friday. The rest of it was up to me. It took its toll–physically and emotionally-and eventually I had to have her put in a nursing home because of her frequent falls and inability to care for herself. It was one of the most painful things I ever had to do, but it was the only way to keep her safe, and me sane.

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    • In the end the caregiver has to take care of herself – it’s one of the hardest things to convince oneself of.
      Thanks for sharing your experience, Erica. You did the right thing for both of you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I found it almost impossible to take care of myself for quite a while, I was so on edge all the time. Luckily I found a great caregivers support group at the Alzheimer’s Association–that was a tremendous help.

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  13. I served in a care giving role at a very young age and then I watched much later as my brother cared for his wife. There are so many issues that make each situation, each person and each care giver different that I don’t think there’s one, or even just a few answers. Each situation in life gives us challenges and opportunities – I do believe that. I applaud your ability and willingness to share your thoughts, as many of us will face this issue for ourselves.

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    • Far too many of us I’m afraid.
      You’re so right, Dan – there are many different situations that can turn us into caregivers. My eldest son is a perfect example.
      Thanks for sharing your experience, my dear. 🙂

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  14. I do so agree having been on both sides of the gate !! Your right life is what you make of it!! xxxx

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  15. My grandfather was a primary caregiver for my grandmother for 10 years during her battle with Alzheimer’s. He had to do things that she did for years including cooking and cleaning. It takes a lot of love and energy to do those things for the ones we love but even more so if you are not related.

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  16. Good said! lovely article…

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  17. I don’t think I’m particularly good when those around me are sick. I tend to panic when my kids have fevers, for one. I suppose I’m a decent caretaker, much more than my husband. My MIL is always the caregiver of people, and then tells us how awful it is/was. I’d say it’s a blessing and a curse, rather like being an actual nurse, which I could never be.
    I’ve read many articles on how exhausting it is to be a caretaker. I’ve no doubts about that!

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    • As you say, caregiving comes with exhaustion but it also has its rewards. I don’t do as well now when my little one gets sick as I did when I had his father by my side.
      I could never be a nurse either. I’m not sure if that means I’m not compassionate enough or if I’m too compassionate…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. from personal experience…. for me being my wife’s caregiver was the absolute hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, knowing she was going to die and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it except make her time with me as pain free and as happy and loving as I could, the mental anguish and emotional hell I have gone through and still am going through is indescribable , unless you have been through it you just won’t get it, and when she passed away the mental anguish and emotional pain never go away, it is something you have to learn to live with for the rest of your life, I would have rather it be me who was the one dieing , at least then the pain would one day stop when I ceased to exist, it’s a horrible horrible pain that I would never ever wish anyone to have to experience, there is no escape, there is no relief, you just simple start to exist one day at a time and live with the pain , there really is no choice, no way out except suicide, but that isn’t even an option as I have a son to raise now , so you learn to mask the pain and heartache, you force a smile and check your voice to make sure it sounds happy and light, and you push on for your son’s sake, never giving up even though you desperately want to, you begin to live for your son, nothing else matters but his happiness and well being, you cease to live and only exist in the depths of your own personal hell , you go well beyond your breaking point yet still keep going because others depend on you , you do what you can, anything to keep yourself distracted , to run from the pain , but there is no escape, there is never any escape ….. that is the life of a caregiver and the life the caregiver has when the one they loved with all their heart and soul dies

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    • I have absolutely no doubt that your son appreciates all that you suffer, and all that you do for him. I’m also sure he is your light. Your role as caregiver continues through Hammy – may you always have the strength to endure. You are his angel, my dear. 🙂

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  19. Ah, Linda. I’m fortunate that I’ve never been in the position of being a care-giver (other than raising my kids, of course, but none of them had special needs). As my husband and I grow older, I sometimes wonder which of us will wind up caring for the other – and I can’t decided which of us would be the better care-giver and which of us would be the better patient. It’s tough either way.

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  20. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    Being a carer is one of the most difficult jobs you can have. There is no rest. It is constant. For some, it can consume your life. I was given the advice to have healthy selfishness. If it only means a walk around the block or take some time for a weekend away with someone filling in it is essential. Anyone who has someone that cares that much about them is blessed.

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