“There’s not enough credit given to the caregiver, especially if there’s help around…but there’s a lot of mental stress that cannot be discounted.”
Caregiving first fell upon Hema when her grandfather-in-law suffered a stroke and needed full time care. Immediately after he passed away, her father-in-law had a spine injury and was in and out of hospitals for the next 2 years. However Hema’s caregiving journey continues with her own parents as they age.
As we get older and our parents age, there is a role reversal that happens where we start caring or sometimes even making decisions for them. While patients/parents deal with their own misery, most often they are not able to be “good” patients so caregivers have to be ready to deal with that. Thus, Hema feels that taking care of older parents can be a challenge… and there is also a feeling of guilt when we get annoyed or frustrated with them due to a reduction in empathy and understanding. Caregiving can be an unappreciated role and put a strain on all relationships so having some sort of support group where you can vent will help reduce the stress.
As hard as it is to care for aged parents, there are a lot of positives one can take from it. In Hema’s case, she was able to spend time with them, communicate, hear old stories and share light fun moments with them. There is also a lot of happiness in seeing them show small improvements after the relentless care we give them.
If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.
Sharing your story helps understand yourself — feelings, passions, hopes. It lightens the load and offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, anger or guilt. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.
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