Caregivers

Nearly every family in America has cared for their family’s elderly, sick, mentally challenged, mentally ill and others. There is so much that goes with that role, which often falls more on one person than others. Being human, we quibble about it. If you have one of those pot-stirrers receiving care, there is a host of other dynamics at work.

Our great grandmother on Mom’s side was such a lady. She always seemed nice to us, and we were pretty young and all at home. Her daughter-in-law, our grandma, did not like her. Grandpa was an only surviving child and the apple of GG’s eye. Grandpa died many years before his mother, so Grandma was in charge of GG, much to her dismay. Mom and her sisters gave her rides, she’d take the bus, etc.

I don’t recall what necessitated her going to a home; all I know is she hated it. She did the usual; accused staff of stealing; everything disappeared, and so on. The behavior became pretty bad. She’d call the police multiple times a week. I didn’t see her in that condition, I just know she eventually died. Grandma had to escort her body back to where her family was buried; Mount Pulaski, Illinois. She went by train, planes were far too expensive.

The poor thing probably had some kind of dementia and couldn’t help herself. Whatever the reason was, I don’t believe she did it on purpose, but that’s what all the grownups were saying. I felt dreadful for her. I hope those things don’t happen to me. There are no guarantees, so all we can do is our best and believe in positive outcomes.

In some ways, it would be easier if the care receiver could not respond, insist on their own way, and take part in destructive behaviors. It’s all part of what care receivers go through, along with exhaustion, wondering if they’re doing their best and all that they can. It gets overwhelming. Many days, all you can do it punt.

Agencies for every disease, disability, and ailment exist. Often the loved one does not fit any of those categories. It’s hard to get the care receiver to understand there may not be care for them without searching high and low. And don’t get me started about personality issues!

The truth of the matter is, some people can accept they need help, may not get to stay in their homes, and have to live out their days in a strange place. It is still up to you about the quality of that life, wherever it’s lived. Acceptance is key. It makes things a lot easier for everyone. Think about that when your time comes. I certainly am.

Give a caretaker some respite today. Say a prayer for their spirits. Do good wherever you can. Tomorrow is our friend’s funeral. I hope it’s a beautiful, sunny day. She would like that. Take care, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

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