(This is a sponsored post from One2One Network. All opinions are my own. #ThanksProject #CareSupport)
We all know November is all about Thanksgiving, but it’s also National Family Caregivers Month and I can tell you, it’s the most heart wrenching role you can ever be asked to fill.
I know this from personal experience. I wasn’t even a caregiver for long…just two weeks during my father’s final days, and I didn’t do it alone.
My father fought lung cancer for two years and three months. To the day. And his doctor was able to tell us when he felt he had little time left. So, living more than eight hours away, I decided this was my time to spend every second I could with my father and take over for my mom, a Hospice nurse by profession, to let her just be a wife during this time.
Of course, my sisters who lived nearby had been handling a lot of this the entire time. And there was help with a nurse who came by occasionally.
But those last two weeks, I felt like it was my job to provide his care. So, I slept on the couch across from his hospital bed which had been set up in our living room. I never wanted him to wake without someone being there, in case he might need something.
I made it my job to wake him every other hour, as required, to give him the meds to keep him out of pain. If we skipped one dose, there was a chance he wouldn’t be able to get the pain under control again.
I remember one particular episode when it just so happened he was dreaming when I woke him for the meds. He was upset because he ‘had a big one on the line’. He was dreaming of fishing and I caused him to lose his big catch. Another time, I woke him for the meds and he was very irritated, accusing me of torturing him. It devastated me. I know he wasn’t in his right mind, but there’s nothing like hearing from the father you adore that you are causing him pain. He just wanted to stay asleep and I wasn’t allowed to let that happen.
It was heartbreaking. Exhausting. And I only did it two weeks.
There are people facing this for years. And those are the people who need to be acknowledged this month. Their needs should be given some attention this month.
Across the country more than 42 million people, primarily women between the ages 40 – 60 are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older family members and friends each and every day.
New research from AARP suggests caregiving can take a tremendous toll on the caregiver’s personal health and overall wellbeing (no research needed there—ask any caregiver and they can tell you that). And yet, many are reluctant to ask for help.
There are ways to recognize these caregivers everywhere for the important work they do:
- Share the AARP Caregiving Resource Center with the caregivers you know. The site contains support lines, news, expert advice, and videos to help them cope with their daily responsibilities. Click on this link: AARP Caregiving Resource Center .
- On the new website, ThanksProject.org, you can share a message of thanks with a caregiver you know and post it publicly alongside other messages from people across the country to illustrate the number of caregivers nationwide. So, why not take a second, click on over to the site and send your thanks to caregivers you know are dedicating themselves to others? It just takes a minute and I promise, will mean so much.
- Give it a lighthearted spin with a hilarious new video from comedian Jeff Foxworthy who says, “You know you’re a caregiver if…” that you can share with your readers.
- There’s also a new online quiz to help identify if you’re a caregiver. Many don’t realize they fit the definition and don’t get help. Ask them to simply take this quiz: