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What is a caregiver?

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What or who is a caregiver? We each have our own definition and each is correct. However, what is the caregiver’s definition. We hire them (paid caregivers), we ask them (friends or family members) and we expect without any thought, they will fulfill the role, after all they are an extention of us.

When speaking to caregivers and asking how they define themselves, the statements are ‘to step up and take the role much as I did as a parent’; ‘to be self-sufficient’; ‘master of crisis management’; ‘a recorder of history’; ‘an advocate’;’ a train conductor – keeping the train on the tracks’; ‘a dietitian’; ‘a bookkeeper’; ‘a person well-schooled in medical insurance and medical breakthroughs’ and the list can go on and on. Isn’t amazing that in a state of knowledge abounding, we expect so much of the vastly under schooled on the issue which will be the hallmark of their life work.

Every caregiver is worth their weight in gold, silver and love. We expect so much and treat them to an occasional “Thank you”, sometimes not even that when the caregiver is a family member or spouse. The caregiving is an expectation for which we seem to think these caregivers would have it no other way. Who will be there when we are the ones needing a caregiver?

Is it so hard to send a ‘Thank you message’, a hug of thanks, a quick note to one of the many people in the chain of keeping our loved one healthy or at least comfortable to say today is Mom’s Birthday, would you say ‘Happy Birthday’. Caregiver’s by nature do not look for public announcements of praise, but a small acknowledgement of their sacrifice is hardly that. Take a moment to look at all they do and how they make life so much easier.

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