Friday, July 10, 2009


Posted by Leona Bergstrom

This stage of caregiving is called realistic because this now providing care for a loved one has become the “norm” of life. Usually care has been provided over a prolonged period of time. The caregiver has encountered the health care and social service system on various levels, with various needs, and with varying degrees of intensity. Usually, there have been multiple hospital admissions, rehab stays in nursing homes, visits by home health care professionals, calls to 9-1-1 and more assessments than one cares to count. The fire station near my parents’ home could almost recognize my mom’s voice because the medic unit had had to respond so frequently to my dad’s needs.

This is a tough time because care needs are intense; there are more duties to be done than time in which to do them. Caregiving is a way of life.

Oddly enough, I suggest that this is when caregivers must try to find the hidden joys of life. Beth Witrogen McCloud tells a story of caring for her mother in her book: Caregiving:
The Spiritual Journey of Love and Loss. She recounts the day when she was giving her mother a bath. Now, bath time was no easy matter and her mother had become almost violently opposed to such an event. So, Beth used bubble bath to lighten the mood. Bubbles were flying everywhere – including up their noses. Both mom and daughter got the giggles – for just a few moments. But they were moments of joy and laughter and almost normalcy. Taking care of a loved one can have some incredibly funny and joyful moments if one looks for them.

This is also when a caregiver needs to accept some help. It’s time to send out the SOS to family, friends and church members to help!

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