My Ideas on Caregivers’ Circle of Life

I’ve noticed magazine advertisements depicting today’s “seniors” as more youthful both  in appearance and lifestyle than even ten years ago.

Anyone whose circumstances include jingle and folding money in their wallet and a personal health rating better than Good is truly fortunate. Partners are hopefully well-matched and can set a brisk pace, wanting to cover lots of ground for as long as practical.

Sometimes all is not rosy though, especially if one’s health or the health of a partner is concerning or deteriorating.

When trouble rocks the boat, who will step up to the helm and hold the ship steady? The roles of caregiver and cared-for are seldom discussed; but when duty calls the other must courageously muster up and charge into the fray. Living with terminal illness feels like war – not as adversaries but as comrades fighting to maintain without losing ground.

Sadly, the facts can eventually overwhelm capabilities; it all feels like “too much” most of the time. Caregivers are frequently admonished to “Take care of yourself”, a well-intentioned but unrealistic comment. What would one do…escape to Tahiti or take a slow boat somewhere far away?

When burn out is the everyday companion it’s time to set your sights on a common goal. If you don’t have help, need it, and don’t know where to get it, the search is on. If you do have help and it’s simply not enough, the inevitability of professional long term care looms.

Flying on auto-pilot is a coping mechanism. It’s essential to take control of your own flight path and recalibrate the trajectory – to ensure a safe landing when someone you love and care for is approaching completion of their Circle of Life.