Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cries of Passion From the Forums

As some of you may know, I have linked up with other caregivers on various forums. I found several interesting points along the way:

1. Almost everyone's situation is worse than mine. I am shocked at the conditions and situations going on in the home's of the elderly and infirm. Many of the people who are incapacitated to any degree are still in their 30's, 40's and 50's. They were in accidents that caused brain damage or other severe injuries, or developed Parkinson's Disease, MS, had a stroke, or were incapacitated for a myriad number of other reasons.

2. There are husbands and wives who were barely married long enough to settle down when life situations overtook them and they became caregivers to their spouse. That was not what they intended life to be like when they got married, but that's what was handed to them. Married life is difficult enough without having a devastating development like that. I have all the respect in the world for those who have cared for a spouse for many years, staying faithful to their marriage vows.

3. The compassion and support those caregivers provide others is remarkable considering what they live with on a daily basis. They are lonely, weary to the point of exhaustion, frustrated at the lack of help from other family members, struggling financially and physically, and yet they are able to lend a loving ear and caring heart to others on the forums.

Many of the caregivers are in dire need of care themselves. They are crying out for help as they are also providing aid, to their loved one and to those on the Internet. A theme on every thread is that they are so glad they found a place where they can pour out their heart to someone who understands.

That seems to be the greatest need of caregivers - to find someone else who understands.

Care giving takes more patience and understanding than any one of us has on our own. Whether we pull from a higher power, each other, or our own inner strength, we do the best we can under the circumstances. No wonder we are exhausted.

I wonder if people realize how much is going on in the lives of people all over the world. There are so many stories out there of struggles and hardship and pain and suffering, it is heartbreaking. All I can do is wonder why?

Maybe that's what life is all about - helping others. When we were younger, we kind of floated along living life, usually focused on ourselves, but then we came up against a season of time where either we had great needs or somebody needed us, and there was a huge paradigm shift in our lives and our way of thinking.

If you know a caregiver, reach out today with a word of encouragement, a hug, or even better, lend a hand to give them a time of respite. Many caregivers are also working part or full time and still carrying out their duties. Please do what you can to ease their burden.

Just think - someday you may be on the receiving end and needing care or respite. What would you want others to do for you?

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