Inspiration

By Charles Towne 

Believe me when I say, caregiver burnout is a very real malady that can kill you if not approached rationally.

There are those poor ignorant and deluded souls that have the mistaken idea that “caregiver burnout “ is a barbecue where you put an apple in a caregiver’s mouth and roast said caregiver over an open fire!

Caregiver burnout is natural, and to be expected, and it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

The demands placed upon the caregiver are so persistent, so, “IN YOUR FACE!” that it is only to be expected to want to “escape into a good book” or, “another place,” or perhaps something that is equally distracting from the brutal realities of the caregiver’s life.

As I have placed myself under that sometimes brutally honest and revealing lens of the “magnifying glass” of caregiving I discover things about myself (Let’s call them “caregiver warts”) that I do not like.  It is at times like this almost like I am seeing a stranger, another person, someone I do not recognize, or, if I do recognize them I sure as the dickens don’t like them.

Guilt is a killer, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, so how do we eliminate guilt?  I don’t know if we can ever completely do so because that evil rascal we know as Satan is always there trying to rub caca into our faces and telling us it isn’t stinky stuff but ambrosia.  The thing to remember is that if it stinks like s@#$ it usually is s@#$!

I do know that there are things that help.

One is, get help, sooner rather than later.

Find a caregiver’s support group nearby that you can attend regularly. Talk to your pastor or a good counselor, and by all means, ask family members to help! 

(Hopefully family is willing to step forward and render loving assistance but it saddens me to say that some family members can be so heartlessly indifferent in this area.) 

Family, if they care, can sit and read to your loved one, prepare a meal, visit, be there, whatever.  This will allow you to escape for a few hours now and then.

And regarding family, if they are so inclined as to ignore an ill family member there isn’t much you can do other than to pray for them.  They are the ones to be pitied, not resented. And please remember, never forget, you are doing a marvelous job as a caregiver just by being there.)

We all feel guilty now and then because we would like to do more, and then there are, if you are like me, those times when we feel resentment, anger, frustration, and we tend to overreact and that is an example of those ugly caregiver warts I spoke of earlier.

Humor is a suggested healer, yes, laughter is healing, healing, healing!!!  Like the bible says, “A happy heart does one good like a medicine.” (That is my paraphrase.)

Another thing that I have found that helps is journaling.  Take time to write down your thoughts, things you have heard, seen, done.  WRITE! Being a writer has certainly helped me.
Remember, no two people ever see the same thing through the same eyes, therefore there will invariably be a unique flow, or new take, on what you write!

Above all, draw near to Papa God, He loves you!  Yes, He loves you and He will always be there for you.

Many blessings,

Charles Towne

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Great advice. I know you are you coming from as I’ve been there myself. Unfortunately I never tried humor or journalizing. Keep them coming.

  2. Thanks Herb, I have tried almost everything and found that one thing consistently works and it is the same thing that worked for you, LOVE! Yes, as in so many things involving the human heart, love usually works. Blessings, Chaz

  3. having had a stroke and realizing my own irrational behavior under drugs in the hospital. i recognize behaviors in the people that i assist. I can understand how terrifying it is to admit that I am not perfect. and have no illusion that they understand what i am going through or even care. it is like a battle your the last stand and the end is near and no one will remember you. but wait you didn’t start this fight and and God never promised a easy road but he will remember each and every one of us. and that is worth serving for.

  4. Wow, Number Two Son, Thank God He is in ultimate control and really, you are in very good hands. Bless you, many times bless you, Chaz

  5. Dear NH, Not a bad idea! My plan is to help folks realize their full potential and be healthy and happy at the same time. I am always looking for ideas. I appreciate the fact that you see the need. Blessings and much joy to you, Chaz

  6. This is a very needed article!
    From exhaustion to guilt, Satan tries to get us to feel inadequate, say negative things about our situation or how we are handling things. If he can keep us in turmoil or feeling depressed, he
    is happy and winning. I like to think I did my best, taking care
    of several family members…but
    I also realized that I was not a trained CNA. It is always good
    to get some type of support system around you for help, encouragement and even
    relief/breaks. I was really encouraged when a friend reminded me that it’s not
    about perfection. God is
    looking at our heart, our motives and our willingness. He knows
    we are not Super Man. He does hear our prayers. Please be uplifted and encouraged as
    you give unto others.
    God bless you, Chuck.

  7. Dear CSG, your words of encouragement and hope ar well received. There is not a caregiver alive that will not be greatly encouraged and filled with hope as the realize that what you say is so very true. Grace, love, peace, mercy, and the greatest of this is love. Bless you in all you do, Chaz

  8. Dear Charlitos, sometimes in desperate situations one can your everything away ’cause caregivers are humans. But like You, humour, reading, patience and PRAY gives the chance to continue in that voyage and amazing chore.
    GOD Bless all caregivers and it’s a good idea to create a caregiver’s group !
    My Blessings to You Chaz

  9. Leonardo, thank you so much for the very wise and most encouraging words. Bless you and yours my friend, Chaz

  10. Why do we do what we do? I am not talking about the things that we are going to benefit from directly, I am talking about reaching out to another person that will never know that it was us that did whatever we did to help them realize that they are important, that they are loved. If we only help others because helping them makes us feel good what does that mean, that we are doing what we do for ourselves, to make us feel good, that could be narcisistic, or selfish couldn’t it? But if we help somebody without them knowing that it was us that helped them? When Jesus healed sometimes he told them to go and live a good life without telling anyone of what he had done. Wow, Father, help us to be like Jesus, to help others because it is the right thing to do. Praise you O Holy One, AND THANK YOU! Amen A Friend

    • Dear Friend, those four words, “THAT THEY ARE LOVED”, say and mean MORE THAN WE CAN EVER IMAGINE! What more is there? They are based in Christ’s very being! Frank Nielson

      • Frank Nielson, O my friend, there is more truth in those four simple words than we can possibly imagine! As we are made aware of the incredible healing power in the truth and life changing, miracle working force in love for curing the world’s ills, the puzzle lies not in the fact that we are not more loving! but in the fact that there is any sickness in the world at all, Chaz

  11. Caregiving is a special case which all too often is thrust upon very non-special, ordinary people. In every aspect of our lives it is always a good idea to ask Papa God for help, guidance, and strength but in the case of a caregiver, it is especially important to connect with people in similar circumstances because what you experience has most likely been experienced by someone else and their experience can be helpful. We are, all of us, stronger togeather than we are alone. This is the concept that armies are built on and when we fight dementia, doesn’t it seem like a goog idea to have an army?

  12. Richard, your army comparison is well taken. There have been historical instances of warriors that held the fort so saying, held off the inevitable, but in the end they perished. It is much better to serve and survive. Serve smart. Bless you and yours always, Chaz

  13. Dear Chuck, The army I spoke of is those who are in similar circumstance.For a person who has been fighting alone for a long time it is a source of strength when he can connect to others who understand. It can be the difference between giving up or keeping on!
    I do not agree with your assessment of the brave men and women who have jumped ” into the breach” and by their courage have saved thousands of their fellow countrymen with their noble sacrifice. Remember, greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his brother!

  14. Chuck, I still have the Care Giving book you gave me long ago! That Book, when you are able to get it published, will be a lot of help to any care-giver! The only thing I look back on, Care-Giving Betty, was I wish I had told her more often how much I loved her, and given her a lot more hugs! Those are important to those who are being helped by care-givers.

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