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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Monday, November 14, 2011

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month.

WANT TO HONOR VETERANS? HONOR THEIR CAREGIVERS

It’s no coincidence that November marks both Veterans Day and National Family Caregivers month. To truly honor veterans, we must also start honoring their caregivers.

Caregivers of veterans remain a largely invisible group. They are, at best, a footnote in debates about Medicare, veterans benefits, and budgets cuts to local services such as California’s recent decision to cut off Medi-Cal funding for adult day care centers.

Yet caregivers of veterans are not a voiceless bunch. As an advocate for caregivers of the elderly, I hear their stories every day. They speak loud and clear – if we choose to hear them. Take the words of Kathryn M. White, whose husband, a World War II veteran, is now battling Alzheimer’s disease: “I wish none of this ever happened. I wish that I had my wonderful, loving husband back but I know that is not possible.
We were the love of each others’ lives for 24 years and had a great marriage, but that Glenn has gone and I do not know this one.”

She included the following poem, written after assisting her husband through a recent doctor’s visit.

I am not just a Caregiver - I AM the Veteran

I asked the doctor, who was in a bad mood,
After I felt that he was being rude,

“Doctor have you ever put yourself in the shoes of the Vet?”

His answer made me want to shiver.

“Yes, but you’re not a Veteran…you’re just a Caregiver.”

I sat there a moment until I could find my voice.
I had to speak for all of us; he left me no choice.
With tears streaming down my face,
I had one goal: to put him in his place.

“I’m not just a caregiver and this I want you to know.
I’m the veteran and I hope it shows.
Alzheimer’s is taking his mind,
Moreover, I search for the items he can’t find.

“I am his mouth when he can’t speak.
I am his legs when his grow weak.
I am his ears when he can’t hear.
I am the one he counts on being there.

“I am his eyes when he can’t see.
I clean up the messes he makes, even his pee.
I lead him to bathe when he would rather not.
He totally depends on me; I am all he has got.

“I pick him up when he falls,
I lay awake listening for his call.

I pay the bills because he can’t think.
I prepare his meds and hand him a drink.

“We are on a journey into the unknown.
We’ll go together, as one, no, he won’t go alone.
So look into my eyes doctor, see my pain, lest you forget.
I am not just a Caregiver…I am the Vet

-- Patricia Grace, founder and CEO of Aging with Grace,

1 comment:

  1. National Caregivers Month is a great time to show appreciation for caregivers that devote so much of themselves and their lives to helping others. My organization, Good Days from Chronic Disease Fund, offers financial assistance to chronic disease patients that cannot afford the medication they need. Coming from a place of helping others, we truly understand how invaluable the work done by caregivers really is. Please visit our website for more information on our organization, http://www.gooddaysfromcdf.org

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