Friday, September 10, 2010
loneliness of the long term caregiver
Loneliness can be complicated, yet I suspect for long term caregivers it is simply another unpaid occupational hazard.
My Wife Has MS: Alone With Multiple Sclerosis “the world can be a very lonely place. When you have a disease like Multiple Sclerosis it seems to magnify those issues at times”
A Day In My Life: Loneliness “I spend a lot of time at the nursing facility where Jack now lives, but it still doesn't fill the empty void at our home.”
I count the steps from Patti’s room at her care facility to the exit door to force my mind to not think about what is behind me or not ahead of me.
Loneliness happened as our life grew more isolated with long term care for Multiple Sclerosis. Intentionally or unintentionally friends and family pull away, maybe they simply are unsure what to say or do.
Long term caregiving bends time. Physical, financial and emotional demands change you. Friends and family change differently - the gap between widens as the decades go on.
As the caregiver you have to function in both worlds, essentially speak two languages. What are the chances you will bump into someone who can talk about what it’s like to care for a dependent person? Ever try ‘adult diapers’ as small talk?
Conversations involving memory loss may as well be a living etch-a-sketch. Thoughts, words, feelings maybe even one day yourself are simply erased.
Whether homecare or care facility era there comes a passing moment in each day when you are reminded …
“I never cared for the sound of being alone
"I am," I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair”
Fans of psychobabble may label loneliness unhealthy. Then again fans of psychobabble would not ‘get’ caregiving if it bit them on the ass. No one ever chose to be a caregiver for ‘their’ health.
To care is never the convenient path.
Loneliness is not always choice. More than 3,000 children lost parents and over 1,600 people lost a spouse or partner 9 years ago tomorrow in the Al-Qaeda Terrorist Attacks of September 11th.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site: http://caregivinglyyours.com/
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