To the Caregivers
My day starts when you wake
I make sure you are fed,
I make sure you get where you need to be.
I answer endless oft repeated questions,
help find things you have lost or misplaced
I remind you when you forget
And pick up after your messes
I help you bathe, groom, and use the toilet.
I help keep your favorite things handy
and comfort you when you feel frightened.
I stop and sit with you when you feel lonely,
I come when you call, night or day
I answer your questions & pick up your messes
My day ends when you are safely tucked into bed
My life is not my own—it revolves around you.
I do this out of love—but it is not easy
I want the best for you—right now
that means sacrificing my dreams and desires.
I know this is for a season—one day you will no longer need me
The cycle repeats—you did this for me—I did this for my children
I do this for you.
I am a Caregiver.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. According to a 2018 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving, primary caregivers are often family members or partners who spend up to 11 hours a day with the patient. This can cause Caregiver strain due to financial and emotional stress. A study in 1999 showed that people who undergo this pressure have a higher rate of mortality.
We deal with so many Veteran families where the primary responsibility falls on the spouse or children. We see the fatigue and exertion. Especially in dealing with ALS, we have found that it is not only the immediate family but the home health care workers feel the pressure of working with someone with a life altering disease where there is not yet a cure.
Take a moment to look around you and see if there is someone in your life that is in this position and if there is a way you can reach out to lighten the burden they carry. It may be sitting with the loved one so that the caregiver can run some errands or have lunch with a friend. It may be providing a meal or gift cards to a favorite restaurant. It may be offering transportation to doctor’s appointments. It could be mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Whatever you find to do will certainly lift the spirits of the caregiver and help lift the feelings of isolation that so many feel.
For more information on caregiver statistics click on the link to ALS MN/ND.