Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Caregiving: Q & A involvement

Cathy, “Dare to Think” commented:

“… I think I've discovered something about your continual positivity that baffled me at first:  it's INVOLVEMENT.  You make this a priority and by including your own needs, a viable one.  You won't mind then, if I borrow now and again from your thoughts while trying to deal with a brother with MS …”


Every caregiver and family or friend of anyone who is challenged or cannot care for themselves faces this.


I believe that you begin by committing yourself to ‘involvement’ and not on your terms but in a new and ever evolving way.


Beware of ‘walking away’ (literally or figuratively) from a rebuff or a disaster simply because you CAN walk away. Actions convey more than words.


‘Attention to detail’ and ‘sense of urgency’ make a useful mantra. I have learned to ‘advance’ involvement opportunities, ‘walk the ground’. Avoiding physical obstacles and looking for the mental and emotional obstacles in advance unquestionably improves involvement.


Squeezing someone into your schedule is a recipe for disaster. A dependent or challenged person cannot as simply juggle a schedule. Do not bull sh*t, carve out genuine time.


With time and progression there is a fine line between caring and condescending. Emotions on both sides of that line can get confusing.


One cannot not communicate”. Family and friends must learn to ‘listen’ beyond verbal and to control their own wordless communication.


Above all please try to remember there are times any person may simply want to be alone. Respect and see the person, not the diagnosis.


I once read an interview with Hubert Humphrey in which he shared how he coped with dying of cancer, continuing to live daily and serve in the US Senate. He “designated” 15 minutes every day for self-pity. Staring into a bathroom mirror he would let himself just fall apart, then wash his face and go out to seize the gift of each remaining day.


Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer



  1. I'm going to copy this for Dave.  He is wonderful but has unconsciously hurt me by doing a few of these.  Marriage is work and marriage with a progressive illness is even harder.  When Dave finally gets to retire he mentioned starting a blog.  I'm sending him straight to you! THANK YOU!


  2. Great entry! Thank you. :O)

  3. I'd like to print this out if I may, and then Patrick would you address my siblings who are unaware that the luxury of wasting time in anger is not an option.  If wisdom comes with age I'd put you at around a few thousand yrs old.  Thank you for expanding on "involvement" which I'm all the wealthier for understanding about you, and how you manage what you do.  God love ya!  xoxo CATHY

  4. Although I have not had to deal with something in the way of MS or any other disease. Your words ring true for me......I went deaf 2 1/2 years ago. My world changed in ways I never dreamed it would. It took a lot of work to get to where I am now. But it also took the same amount of work on Doc's part to see me in the light of my deafness, to truly see me and understand what it is I needed or wanted. To understand that yes, things did and would continue to change. I actually sat him down and said to him this is the way things are going to be, if you don't think your up to it. I won't be offended if you walk away. I need someone who is up to the challenge to stick it out even when the going gets rough. I would much rather you walk away now then do so when I need you the most. He's been there for me from the beginning. It's not just a chunk of time, but rather dedication to the person your on that journey with. (Hugs) Indigo

  5. Patrick,
    I think Hubert Humphrey had the right idea. Good advice on all the other stuff, Patrick. It's much easier to walk away.



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