Care Giving that Comes from the Heart of Experience
I remember when I decided I wanted to be a care giver. I had studied nursing and worked in the field for many years, but the long hours on my feet had taken a toll. I was out of shape, out of breath most days, and wanted time to myself to pursue some artistic endeavors that had been simmering on the back burner for too long. So I resigned my job and delved into being a stay a home mom while my husband handled the bills. I traveled to India, Brazil and other places on my bucket llist. I took long walks, spent weekends away with my family and friends, and loved the occasional Girls Night Out my new freedom afforded. But a few years ago I saw a scene play out before me that shook me deep inside. I had stopped to buy a smoothie before hiking back up the hill that led to my house when I saw an elderly man marching along the sidewalk. Where is he going with that chair I thought to myself. He was holding a dining chair awkwardly by the legs. As he made his way clumsily along the street, he was soon interrupted by a man who had run out of breath trying to catch up with him. He was closely followed by a woman who had dressed so quickly she was still trying to button her house dress. She yelled, “Dad, stop. Stop! Don’t go into the traffic.” After some pulling and tugging, they got the chair away from him, turned him around and led him back toward their house. As they passed by me, I could hear her lament that she just couldn’t do this anymore.
I was witnessing a scene that’s too familiar to care givers who are so mentally and physically exhausted they are near their breaking point from taking care of an elderly parent or grandparent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 20 years ago, when I witnessed that scene there were few services to help a person in their position. Had that scene played out before me today, I would have referred them to Care.com. They offer licensed, professional care givers like me who have a passion for helping others. I appreciate all the background checks they did on me and the interview process I went through. It takes a lot of courage to open yourself up to an outsider and even more to trust them with the care of your loved one.
I refer lots of families to Care.com when they need child care, senior care or someone to do housekeeping or pet sitting. And I always recommend they use Groupon and look for a coupon that will save them money when they sign up for services. I assure them that when they just can’t do it anymore, there’s always someone like me to step in.