Overlooked and Misunderstood: It's an Awful Time


Overlooked and Misunderstood: It's an Awful Time

riverbed-261250_640I regularly meet with entrepreneurs with start-ups to help family caregivers, technologist developing tools for family caregivers and providers looking to reach family caregivers.

I always tell them: Caregiving is an emotional experience. Behind every decision, every task and every day lies an emotion and often it's a treacherous one. The guilt, the grief, the sadness, the despair, the worry, the frustration, the anger, the resentment simmer just below the surface. The physical hands-care can be tiring. The challenging emotions are exhausting.

I don't think they get what I'm saying. Just like I don't think all those writers behind the articles that suggest "we take care of ourselves" get it.

Caregiving can be an awful experience. It can be awful because someone you love disappears right there, right in front of you. It be can be awful because someone you can't love now needs your help and you struggle to figure out how to do that. It can be awful because the health care industry sucks. It can be awful because the family dysfunction disgusts. It can be awful because it's expensive during a time when money is already tight.

It's always awful because simple solutions can be few and far between.

So, when a start-up advertises its company with photos of happy seniors and even happier adult children, we recoil. When a start-up believes we just need to replace our trusty spreadsheet or notebook with his proprietary software, we reject. When a writer advises that our life will be better if we just take care of ourselves, we roll our eyes.

I do take care of myself. I eat right. I walk, I do my Pilates DVD. I do my best to focus on the moment rather than worrying about the future. But, during those times when the future is tomorrow and tomorrow doesn't include enough (money, time, energy), I panic. Perhaps I don't panic as much as I would if I didn't have self-care practices in place. But, I still wake up at night in terror, climbing out of my bed during my slumber, heart-pounding, to warn my parents. That's how stressful tough times are. It feels like we're under attack.

It is important and imperative we take care of ourselves. The world desperately needs creatures as caring and creative and courageous as we are. But, our problems need answers bigger than our self-care. And, that's why it would be great if we could find businesses, providers and articles which truly offered solutions that make a difference.

Otherwise, the software that replicates what's already available and the advice which admonishes what we already know seem silly and insensitive.

We're out there fighting the good fight. We deserve better during a time that includes the worst moments of our lives.

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Preach it, Sister.


You are so right. My daughter told me about a calendar-communication-coordination type program that one of her friends had used. My daughter said it was a great idea, but nobody took time to update it so two friends would show up with prepared meals on same day or people would go to visit when no one was there.\r\n\r\nI've looked at a couple of those programs, and in theory some looked good. But I got overwhelmed just trying to figure out how some of them worked (and I'm pretty good learning software programs)… The time and energy to learn and use, and as caregiving goes, timely updates would seem a challenge. \r\n\r\nAnd you are so right about all those \"tire take care of yourself\" articles.\r\n\r\nBut YOU get it. Thank you.