We live in a society that tends to value what we do over who we are. If what we do isn't highly paid or well understood, many people often brush it off as unimportant. Thus, one of the most important jobs in our society today – that of being a family caregiver – is all too often undervalued by people who don't understand. We may not be able to control others' viewpoints, but we do have some control over whether we accept this view of what we do and remain confident in our own decisions. During the two decades that I spent caring for different combinations of multiple elders, I often found myself searching for what I hoped would be a suitable answer to the question: "What do you do?"
This question was generally asked at the occasional social event I attended. I'd learned early on that people really weren't interested in how I was on call 24/7 because of potential emergency situations with several elders. They didn't care that I often spent two or three out of five weekdays taking people to medical appointments and much of the rest of my week tending to their daily needs. They couldn't relate to that kind of life and didn't regard what I did as a "real" job.
Therefore, I wasn't worth much more than a brief nod before they'd move on to someone more interesting. Eventually, I grew strong enough to not worry about what other people thought and found my own satisfaction in giving loving care to my family.
Statistics can help back our case: As millions of boomers' parents continue to age, more people have been called on to be family caregivers.
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
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