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Care-sharing

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis




At every stage of life, we are taking care of others and pity the person who never experiences that. It’s hard to imagine going through life without the responsibility of caring for another individual. Having positive human relationships requires the need to think about another person’s needs. After all, sharing your toys is the first lesson in putting someone else first; a harsh lesson. Marriage, children, careers, and families constitute a life of concern for others. It is noble. It is the way we are built, and we gauge another’s character by how giving and caring they are. The ability to subjugate your own needs (or wants) to another is viewed with the utmost respect. But it is hard, very hard. No matter how noble one is, as the Buddha says, “After enlightenment, the laundry.”


We are well aware of the need for caregiving. Modern medicine has created a backlash of demand for caregivers. The statistics are grim; I’ll let you google it! Caregiver should be listed as a diagnosis on medical charts because it is a major risk factor. Caregiving is a cocktail made of love, tenderness, sacrifice, frustration, anger, and a generous serving of guilt. And speaking of cocktails, estimates are that 70 percent of caregivers are depressed and self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The best scenario is when caregiving can be “care-sharing.” A circle of caring is the best scenario, where there is an opportunity for “time off” for everyone involved. It seems that guilt is the self-limiting idea that prevents allowing others to help. To play the superhero is critically dangerous because when the caregiver is suddenly incapacitated, there is no safety net available.

 

"There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those that have been caregivers. Those that are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers and those that will need caregiving."

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