Caregiving Needs to Be a Team Effort
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “there’s no I in team,” meaning that every member of a successful team puts selfishness aside and works together toward a common goal. Unfortunately, there is an “I” in caregiving, and that “I” can represent many challenges that caregivers face daily: isolation, infuriation, irritation, imperfection, and at times, seemingly impossible.
During my years of caregiving, one particular incident made me realize that if caregivers want to keep their sanity, they have to eliminate that “I” by building a caregiver support team. It doesn’t have to be regimented or fancy; simply surrounding yourself and your loved one with thoughtful people and helpful services can be beneficial when you least expect it.
The Need for a Care Team
My epiphany regarding caregiver support came on a cold winter day years ago when Julie, my mail carrier, knocked on my door much earlier than she would normally pass by my home. Julie had been delivering the mail on her route a couple of blocks over when she noticed movement behind the snow-banked sidewalk across the street. Thinking it might be an injured animal, she went to investigate.
What she discovered was my 80-year-old neighbor, Joe, crawling toward his home. Joe had taken off on one of his impulsive walks to an old tavern downtown without considering the lack of sure footing. On a good day with dry cement under his feet, Joe shuffled with an occasional sideways wobble. Put ice and snow underfoot, and his walk was a recipe for disaster. Miraculously, Joe was cold but unharmed. The trouble was that after he had fallen, he couldn’t get back on his feet. Julie helped him up, and escorted him home…
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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