We all want to provide the best possible care for our loved ones, whether it was of a parent, sibling, spouse or child. Having them at home with us means that we are on duty 24/7 – we know that. We have to do the shopping, cooking, cleaning; we are probably doing that already.
But how about all the other things? Paying the bills and making sure that the money is there to pay them. Getting the car, the AC or the leaking toilet fixed. Keeping track of medication, doctor appointments, etc. for you and your patient.
These are all practical things that we can’t imagine having to cope with as we watch our loved one decline, become weaker, getting closer to the end. But do we really know the whole story? Can we imagine the whole weight they carry? Some are lucky enough to have understanding and supportive family close by to share this burden but that is rarely the case.
As the patient drifts from you, the relationship between you changes and you increasingly have to take the leading role and make decisions entirely on your
own. Now your sense of isolation and loneliness increases. Your life outside the home ceases and the only adults you talk to are the aides and nurses who stop by briefly and are not there to spend time with you. This where a volunteer can step in. As a caregiver relief, I see my role as giving my time, an ear for the caregiver to bend, or a shoulder to cry on. I sit with the dying patient, but my focus is on building a supportive relationship with the caregiver. I have come to learn that the isolation, frustration, and depression felt by the caregiver is the heaviest load to carry. ~Fiona Pearce, Volunteer