Thursday, August 19, 2010

choosing to care

It begins subtlety, no better yet, invisibly. You begin to give care. You CHOOSE to care.

The person dealing with diagnosis or progression of chronic illness or disability did not CHOOSE to be so and is understandably ferocious in their independence.

Veteran long term caregivers look back on this as a beginning or a stage of caregiving. But to many this stage holds, it is what they do.

Find a way to extend a helping hand without trumpeting your effort. For example, if you don’t normally do the cooking “develop” an interest do not “offer to cook”.

Worlds change. Soon you are excusing yourself from social activities to be around the home, just in case. Of course, you never phrase it that way.

What you are doing is not really fooling anyone, it is all about how you approach it. In a sense, chivalry not chauvinism.

Progression is the proverbial elephant in the room for both of you. I pray the elephant just sits there. Unfortunately most likely it will grow. The care person needs to be thinking and exploring ‘what if’ and under no circumstances think out loud.
No one wants to be dependent anymore than they want to be chronically ill or disabled. This can get like emotional bumper cars in this stage. You have to try to understand that your choices whether calculated or in the heat of the moment are no different in the 21st century than Pythagoras philosophized in the 6th Century B.C, “choices are the hinges of destiny”.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
musings: patrick ponder


  1. Patrick, how beautifully written and how true.

    I also know that for me, I have learned to ask - may I help you with that? Instead of just doing it myself. Sometimes it takes a person with MS (or other disabilities) 10 times longer to do something than it would take me. But sometimes it is important to allow our loved ones the dignity of being able to accomplish something on their own without us.

  2. very wise advice, Patrick. It is so true, no one wants to be dependent or chronically ill and so many of us are so independent we hate to ask for help even when we need it. it takes a very intuitive person to offer help without saying it in so many words but to allow the one needing the help to still have some dignity and independence (as much as they can of course in their particular situation)

    wise words to ponder :)

    (LOL, I un-deleted my blog, no obligation to read it, all is well :)


  3. The beginning of our care partnership was so gradual that I can't remember how it started. The number of things I resisted assistance with were so few compared to the number of tasks that somehow Scarecrow assumed without my ever realizing it. When someone reads your mind so much of the time, how irritated can you get when they occasionally provide help I don't want?

    Elephant? What elephant?

  4. Thank you ALL. Additional insights are a strength of blogging.


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