Most of us have at least one or two caregivers in our lives. As the holidays arrive and gift lists are being made, we often come at a loss when we need to think of an appropriate gift for caregivers.
For caregivers already under physical, emotional, and financial stress, a situation can become even direr when the person you care for has mobility challenges that make it difficult for them to get around.
When we get to our 50s or 60s, many of us become long-distance caregivers. For us, the holidays often provide an opportunity to visit elderly parents or other relatives and check in on how they’re doing.
We rarely take time to dwell on this, but at some future point, many of us will need assistance as physical disabilities, chronic illness, frailty, or dementia take hold.
It happens every time: I come to a senior assisted living facility to do a workshop on telling life stories. I enter a room filled with seniors in varying degrees of ability. Some are in wheelchairs, some have caregivers, some clearly can’t hear or see very well.
In the past months, I have been navigating the rough and turbulent waters of dementia, trying to cope with the changes I observe in my mother’s behavior.
Yes, it is fall, which means we are approaching the holiday season. The retail stores are crowded with holiday decorations, which, ultimately, poses the question, “Should we decorate our living space when we are a caregiver?”
Before you know it, the holiday rush will be upon us. Often, for adult children, it is one of the few times they get to see mom and dad during the year. Families can be separated by distance (and much more) and caregiving from afar can be difficult, stressful and time-consuming.
There are millions of long-distance caregivers, and the numbers are growing every day. Distances vary, though loved ones who need care may live in another state or even another country. My parents lived in the same state but 90 miles away. It was a 2-hour commute each way for me.