The daily reality of caregiving can be monotonous. Tasks don’t change. Pressure doesn’t cease. Then a sudden event like a holiday, an illness, or a weather crisis throws us for a loop. Labor Day made last week difficult for me. Yet I wonder and worry about caregivers in the hurricane states.
A little Extra Stress on Holidays
When there’s a holiday on the calendar, it usually means I do more work instead of less. Last week was no exception. I had a deadline for an important writing project. To finish on time, I had to write over the weekend even while I had family visiting. When people visit, I have to cook and clean more. Plus we just painted the ceiling in the front of the house. I wanted to improve the space before the cold weather arrives. That meant moving furniture and getting rid of junk. I felt like I was working every single minute.
My sister helped with my mom, so that did free up some of my time. But I find that my role as #caregiver never diminishes. I must literally leave the room to restrain myself from doing tasks I normally carry out alone. The #caregiver sense of responsibility is relentless.
A long bike ride was my one holiday treat. We live about 10 miles from the #D&L trail which runs along the Lehigh River. It’s a 22 mile path following the old canal and rail lines that carried anthracite coal across the state. I wish I could take more bike rides but, as a #caregiver, I can’t be away from the house too long. Having another family member at home gave me some liberty to take care of my own health.
Grateful to be safe
As I complained to myself about toiling during the holiday, I watched the news of Hurricane Harvey. The sight of the flood waters and splintered houses made me see how much I have to be thankful for. Old friends of mine who live in Houston were lucky they didn’t have home damage. But they were surrounded by many people who lost everything. I saw photos and stories about children and pets, immigrants and refineries. No news of caregivers crossed my screen. How does a #dementia caregiver cope in a storm like #Hurricane Harvey? Our country has a limited support system for us in normal times. What happens to people with #dementia during a crisis of that magnitude?
These are times to be grateful for whatever peace and support we have in our chaotic lives. If you are a dementia caregiver living in the area affected by the hurricane, please send a comment. If there’s a way we can help from afar, let us know. Labor Day will now mean something new for people in the communities destroyed by these hurricanes. For most of us, dementia changed our definition of ‘labor’ a long time ago.