The typical caregiver....

....according to a report by Faiza Elmasry at Voice of a women who is 46 years old, with a job outside the home, and spends 20 hours a week caring for a mother who leaves nearby.

In her report, Elmasy quotes author Mary Lou Quinlan, who discourages women from leaving their jobs to care for family.

I totally disagree.

Jennifer is a 37 year old divorced woman who no longer works outside the home so that she can care for her 97 year old grandmother. Read about Jennifer and her grandmother Donna here. They sound like quite a pair!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting articles, I can relate to both in some ways. I am 38 have been caring for my 79 year old mother for the past 5 years and it's like my world has fallen apart. She requires a LOT of care and is somewhat un-thankful of all that I do for her. I'm not asking for an award or anything like that, but it would be nice for her to be pleasant and not order my husband and I around constantly. Since I've been taking care of her-I had to cut my hours at work to part time, have to get by on anywhere from 0 to 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, have had 2 miscarriages, been on a constant struggle at work(I've made mistakes and got written up), am no longer able to keep in contact with my friends, do not go out socially, worry about my husband leaving because we don't have much quaility time together, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have skyrocketed (I had to give up going to the gym), have gained weight, I also paint and am on the verge of giving that up completely because the only painting I get to do is at the expense of sleep. Also, I have no siblings, no relatives who live close by, all I have for help is my husband, a visiting nurse who comes in once a week and a home health aide who comes twice a week who is NO help at all. What is a home health aide suppose to do? The one we have is slick, she figured out that if she comes after I've left for work the commode is already emptied and cleaned, her colostomy stuff is already cleaned (my mom has a bag and she empties the continents into a urinal several times a day)so all the home health aide does is give her a sponge bath and makes the bed. Sometimes she washes my mom's hair, we have a hose in the kitchen sink for that. The home health aide just takes the dirty dishes out of the sink, does her hair then puts the dirty dishes back in. I do not have time for dishes before I leave for work, I have the commode, the colostomy, get her breakfast, her meds, and so on.
I wonder how the 37 year old in the article does it? It doesn't seem like she gets burned out at all. Is she really a single mother? The article doesn't mention her having kids at all. I would love to have children, but I fear another miscarriage since I never get any rest anymore.
Sorry to vent it all out, but once in a while something provokes me to get it all off my chest and it happened here. Thanks for listening.

4:36 AM  
Blogger ~Patricia~ said...

Anonymous - You are right. Jennifer isn't a mother. I just reread that article and I obviously misread something the first time. Don't apologize for venting - this is an emotionally charged issue and my heart goes out to you. It sounds like you have a very difficult situation and it is obvious that you could use some help. I am going to copy your comments here into a new post so that others will be more likely to comment on it, as well.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to respond to that reader's comment. As a disabled person who needs a lot of care, I can tell you the process of care is something of a call and response. I recognize how hard it is for others to care for me, but often that is because they are angry, frustrated, sometimes outright abusive -- and they often convey the message to me that I'm a burden rather than a blessing. I tend to express more gratitude when we share the attitude that caregiving can be mutually beneficial, and I have found in those situations that a remarkable intimacy can bloom. It is important for someone who has lost functionality to be reminded that she is valuable. And I am not saying it's not a contentious or difficult thing, but perhaps there would be more ease all around if the mutuality of the relationship was recognized and she felt that you were grateful to her as well. As for the aides, mine are also often useless, and many disabled people I know complain about this -- but my family HAS forsaken me, and they refuse to be my caregivers, which has caused more pain than you can imagine. So I invite you to glimpse the alternative, what it would mean if you left your mother in the care of only incompetent aides and what that would mean for her quality of life. You show respect for her life by refusing to do that, and hopefully when or if you ever need the same care, you will receive similar blessings.

8:01 PM  

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