I don’t know about you but just me writing this all down was exhausting. And it sort of sucked the life out of me a bit. It’s not the most interesting and exciting of days. And now, in between everything I listed above, remember that I have to get myself ready for the day as well. I need to have breakfast and bathroom breaks and showers, lunch, dinner and snack times and remember to take my vitamins. But I also have to clean the house, the kitchen, do the laundry, walk the dog, do groceries, etc. I also have to find time to acknowledge and talk to my husband to see how he’s doing and I also have to find time for myself to relax and unwind and possibly write a blog. So I’m sprinkling all of that in between my grandmother’s schedule. And know imagine that all didn’t go well and instead, we had a bad day thrown into the mix. Weekends can be difficult. any day can be difficult actually, but weekends are the toughest. And at least I have my husband to help out where he can. One weekend a month my mother takes my grandmother to her place from Friday to Sunday. Another weekend a month I have my grandmother the entire weekend. Two weekends a month, my mom comes to my place for about 4 – 6 hours (either on Saturday or Sunday) to watch my grandmother so that my husband and I can go out together.
Now, imagine if that was someone’s job? That wouldn’t be someone’s responsibility 24/7. More like 4 -8 hours a day max with a particular client. And that person would be making anywhere from $8 – $10 an hour. That’s it. If someone was paying you only $8 – $10 an hour for 4 hours a day to take care of my grandmother, would you put your whole heart and soul into it, day in and day out? This would have to be your passion. This would have to be your calling in life. And if it was your calling in life and your passion, that you gave your whole heart and soul to the caring of others, would you be okay with only being compensated $8 – $10 an hour? Now consider that while you are caring for my grandmother that she’s having a bad day. My grandmother is stressed, cannot communicate her frustration and every step of the way, she fights you on everything. Now add the time restraints to get her ready from Monday – Friday. Now consider that you might be preoccupied on the other list of chores and responsibilities in your own life that you need to do when you get home, the fact that you may be tired or hungry or not feeling well. How pleasant and patient will you be with my grandmother? When would you start taking your frustrations out on her?
The point to this post, and I thank you for devoting the time to read it this far, is to shed some light on how truly difficult being a caretaker is regardless of the hours that are put in, be they 4 hours or 24 hours. We cannot take this role for granted. We cannot allow just anyone to care for our loved ones without knowing for sure that (s)he understands the circumstances and can be patient and loving and diligent to the little details. Caring for another being is truly the most important role there is and it’s also the most difficult and stressful role. Too important to be underpaid, under-appreciated and taken for granted. I’m not sure how to change who we treat and care for our caregivers. I’m not sure how to create a better system for them to feel satisfied, appreciated and valued. Do you?