Care Partners or Caregiving? What’s the Difference?
…Joe and I had a disagreement about allowing me to take over filling his bird feeders every morning.
As Joe and I developed a (usually) easy relationship with healthy boundaries, there were lessons to learn.
I understood that Joe’s being able to sit at his kitchen table while watching the birds flock to his backyard feeders was one of his daily pleasures. So, in my determination to be helpful, I told him that I’d be happy to take over what to me was his chore of getting the food from heavy bags and filling the feeders daily.
”Honey,” he said, “I do that because I want to do it.” He went on to tell me about the satisfaction he feels when he makes certain that the birds were fed. As he continued to talk, I learned how he’d watch for certain birds to return after migration, and how maddening it was that the squirrels would steal the nuts meant for the bluejays. As he talked, I saw his face light up with joy over his birds, and I finally got it. What I thought was just a kind offer to make his life easier was, to him, an attempt to take away one of his few joys.
Naturally, I worried when winter came and I’d see him tottering out to his garage on the icy sidewalk to reach the bird’s food. That concern spurred me to renew my offer to help, but Joe pointed out how
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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