I recently launched my facebook page and my blog and had been anticipating it for the last month. I was quite anxious about pulling the material together. This is a very personal part of my life to share, so I was feeling vulnerable.
I have been a Caregiver for the last several years and am currently one too. I know well what it takes to be one. It’s a trying and challenging job, when your emotions are so raw, dealing with all the changes of an aging person who is nearing the end of life. If the person you're caring for has a chronic illness during this time, it can complicate the care immensely. And if the person you’re caring for has memory impairment, that makes it even more difficult to deal with.
My niece encouraged me to write an introduction blog about who I am, what my social media is about and what it means to me, beyond the short introduction I wrote on my facebook page and blog profile. Thinking about how to articulate that makes me pause, because it’s so meaningful to me, for so many critical reasons.
I understand what is required of someone to care for another. It may be a grown child or grandchildren who need your help in multiple ways. It may be a parent or an elder who is reliant on you. And, in fact, it may be both who need your care on a regular basis. It takes a person with patience and organizational skills to manage well. Caring for a family member, a friend or professionally employed as a caregiver is a selfless act. Your personal needs may go on the back burner, possibly for an extended period of time. It is my hope that what I share in my blog and facebook page will let you know you are not alone and there is someone out there who understands fully what you're going through - that would be me! I think you're doing a great job!
In my personal journey, I experienced a range of emotions, it’s hard for me to express how monumentally it impacted my life. I never worked so hard, invested so much and put my own needs aside for such a long period of time. I experienced caregiver burnout at times. There were periods where I felt isolated, lonely and sad.
I didn't have a background to manage so much. I was not only a Caregiver, I was a patient advocate, point of contact for all medical teams, went to the doctor appointments, did the scheduling, trained and scheduled a 24 hour Caregiver service. I also managed a five-week hospital stay in 3 different facilities. I talked to so many medical teams during that time period, it was no simple matter to track everything that was happening and to get the correct information on a timely basis so I was up to date about all patient matters.
I learned so much, have seen so much and have dealt with all kinds of situations and people and things I would have never dreamed of. It was a huge learning curve. I believe that anyone who is a Caregiver, you are gifted. Whether by default or choice. You are special. Never underestimate all that you do and know that you are highly valued, even if those you care for never say so!
Come visit me and my sister Jan Steinle, the Artist, @ www.thesandwichwoman.com. Stay tuned, I am currently writing a book to be a companion for those that are dealing with the issues I'm writing about. Please share www.thesandwichwoman.com with those in your life who are living the life I describe. Thank you so much!
~Words That Soothe and Ideas & Art That Delight~