Going the extra mile

By Donna RandallAnnie OakleyWith 0 comments

When first I took on the role of family caregiver, my focus was clear: My mother was the care recipient and I was the family caregiver. Over a period of time, this delineation of roles became even more evident, with my mother taking a rather steep dive into dementia, while I became more experienced and capable as her caregiver. Taking stock here and now, with this relationship fading further and further into the past, I see very clearly that for the whole time we assumed these roles I can confirm that we grew more comfortable with our roles as the time progressed, until my mother left this world, hopefully for a world much more kind and gentle for this kind and gentle human being.

Then, with me having become more and more experienced as a caregiver, and my dear partner, Philippe, having gained a family caregiving agreement via his aging father, we launched into yet another caregiving experience, with Annie Oakley as our care recipient. As we three settled into our roles and responsibilities a new dynamic found its way into our situation, slowly but surely. Much to my chagrin, I began noticing changes in my overall eye health. At first the changes were slight, but all too quickly I needed to depend upon Philippe for things I was trying to read, followed all too quickly for help with detailed driving directions, and followed by chauffeur services. Within a terribly short period of time, at least from my perspective, Philippe had become a caregiver to both his mother and his wife. Lucky him!

Now having received treatment from many of the eye specialists in our vicinity and no solution having been found, I try to find ways to look on the bright side of life. Without a doubt I am going the extra mile to gain an understanding of the traumas our elders face as their independence continues to be eroded. For example, when our elders have to give up their drivers licences, usually people say they are giving up their independence, which is true. However, given my first hand experience of not being able to drive safely, I know this loss of independence far too well. In my case, this loss of mobility has been all but stripped away from me, impacting my efforts to market my business offerings and continue to keep my economic independence. In the process I am also being stripped of my ability to help families enter into caregiving agreements avert family troubles now and later in life.

On somewhat lighter notes, given my vision challenges I have become a more kind and gentle person in general, particularly when encountering our elders. For example, When I am in a store or shop waiting to pay for my purchase, and an elderly person in front of me is paying with loose change, rather than huffing and puffing as I did when I was young and visually able, I now take a deep breath and smile as this person completes his or her transaction. You see, I also have heard the sighs of impatience as I could not see clearly enough to make a credit card transaction. More often than I care to admit, I have left these situations with tears in my eyes, vowing to myself that I would never shop there again, just to save face.

Yours in Caregiving,