When does it cross into caregiving?

Sometimes it seems like there are only two camps of caregivers: the ones who are martyrs who have served 24/7 for decades and the ones who view any acknowledgement of how difficult caregiving can be as sniveling.

One group will unleash a litany of unending complaints if you’re unwise enough to ask them how they’re doing. But don’t dare suggest they’re complaining or facing any sort of hardship, as every moment is a gift. This is what they’re put on Earth to do, their complaining certainly isn’t complaining.

The other has just about nothing to say about the matter. It’s more a certain huff and a sideways glance that belies their wonderment of what the heck is wrong with you that you are overwhelmed by the tasks of normal life. Yet, somehow, they pop into the caregiver support groups to tell us we’re all idiots to act like this isn’t just a normal part of life everyone deals with.

Where do the rest of us fit in? I don’t think you have to provide 24/7 care for someone who’s totally incapacitated to count as a caregiver. The vitriol I’ve seen unleashed when someone who’s loved one is only partially disabled or is expected to recover suggests I’m an outlier in this view. I imagine this is just who’s most active on the internet, though. And who’s spent so much time in social isolation that they no longer understand that attacking other people is not the way to make friends.

I daresay I even support being welcoming to the so-called long-distance caregiver. The ones who listen to us whine on the phone and transfer money. Who untangle insurance company messes while we provide hands-on care. Who drop in for a few days a year and bumble their way through, trying to replace us and driving us crazy with their well-meaning suggestions.

I can only imagine the hateful comments I’ll get for even suggesting that.

It’s true, caregiving is common. That doesn’t make it any easier. We’re all going through this alone, instead of supporting each other. Instead of coming together to ask for the types of support society provides for childcare, however insufficient those are.

You don’t have to be spending 110% of your life on someone else to deserve support.

You deserve support, no matter what.

Anonymous

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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6 Comments

  1. Of course they do.

    Reply
  2. Of course they do.

    Reply
  3. Everyone deserves support…

    Reply
  4. Everyone deserves support…

    Reply
  5. I originally did part time Caretaking traveling from another State while working. I worried all day. Everyday. I sent meals on wheels to go to her house. She said she would not eat it, but she did and someone was knocking at her door everyday. No one from the family living near her checked in on her physically or by phone. A neighbor that had been friends with my late brother would stop to see her most everyday. He lived down the street. He did not do Caretaking but I knew someone was atleast seeing her everyday.
    Absolutely…help was very much needed for me by my family. My Mother needed the company more than the care at that point. I needed not only that but family involvement to cut my out of state trips down worry and physical exhaustion.
    Within a year, she moved in with me and I had to quit my job to care for her full time. She had been found to have breast cancer and other medical conditions that need treatment. Part time with my commuting and working felt full time.

    Reply
  6. I originally did part time Caretaking traveling from another State while working. I worried all day. Everyday. I sent meals on wheels to go to her house. She said she would not eat it, but she did and someone was knocking at her door everyday. No one from the family living near her checked in on her physically or by phone. A neighbor that had been friends with my late brother would stop to see her most everyday. He lived down the street. He did not do Caretaking but I knew someone was atleast seeing her everyday.
    Absolutely…help was very much needed for me by my family. My Mother needed the company more than the care at that point. I needed not only that but family involvement to cut my out of state trips down worry and physical exhaustion.
    Within a year, she moved in with me and I had to quit my job to care for her full time. She had been found to have breast cancer and other medical conditions that need treatment. Part time with my commuting and working felt full time.

    Reply

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