May is National Caregivers Month. Now more than ever, the challenge of being a caregiver feels more of a ‘challenge’ than any other word that I can think of. It can be joyful, rewarding, an honor, an opportunity and an obligation.
Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes and age. There are young carers who are children themselves and they are the ones looking after a sibling or a parent. There are those of us in the sandwich generation who may support and look after a parent and may still be caring for their children; there are older parents who may be looking after a spouse and who still may be looking after their adult dependent child.
It is a label, a role, a title that many wear willingly and for others it can feel like a heavy winter coat on a warm summer day.
Regardless, not everyone makes for a good caregiver. The sad story of Ron Siwicki hit home for me.
I don’t doubt that he loved his mother, he didn’t have the resources or wherewithal to know what he/she needed and could not say no to her. She didn’t want to leave her home and maybe he(wrongly) believed he was listening to and respecting her wishes. How sad and what a terrible ending for both of them. Do we need an elder aid society? Maybe we do. In terms of elder care, how can we honour our our mothers and our fathers? Sometimes it may mean not listening to them.