Letter: Caregivers deserve valuable time off

To the editor:

After you published my letter of March 31 about the care my husband receives at The Haven for Adult Day Care in Hayden, I have had some mixed reactions from some well-meaning folks. Some wanted to know if I felt “guilty” leaving his care to someone else, even for the eight hours that he is there. Did I feel like I was abandoning him? Wasn’t I being selfish to want time for myself?

The answer to these questions is, no, absolutely not.

Why would I feel guilty leaving him the care of such caring, experienced people? He has a good social time at The Haven. Sometimes they go on field trips. For example, the museum in Hayden, or a picnic in Hayden Park.

Their minds are challenged with games and activities to stimulate their thinking patterns. They use basic tools — my husband brought home the bird feeder that he had made from scratch. He had even painted it.

Participants in the program have a good breakfast when they arrive and a delicious, nutritious lunch at noon. Ron always raves about lunch, especially the desserts.

I definitely am not abandoning him. I am giving him the opportunity for a change of scenery and a chance to make new friends.

And, as for being selfish about wanting some time for me, who doesn’t need time to recharge their batteries? Some people golf or play cards with friends, go to lunch with friends, enjoy a movie at the theater or even sit and read a book uninterrupted.

I can’t do that unless I bring Ron along. He doesn’t golf or play cards, he does enjoy going to lunch with me, and we watch movies on TV. But the point is, we are together 24/7 and I am on call all of that time.

So, the time that Ron spends at The Haven is my respite time. I can nap or read and know he won’t be calling or needing me to do anything for him for several hours. It’s a sigh of relief, of quietness and calm that I really appreciate and it helps me to mentally recharge and be ready to take care of him all the better and more patiently because my stress level has gone way down.

If you are caring for a parent or spouse with cognitive problems and not getting any time for yourself, think about how much better you will feel and what a better job you can do if you recharge your energy, patience and stress level.

You are not abandoning your loved one, you are not being selfish and you certainly should not feel guilty. You just need some time for you. Both of you will benefit greatly, I guarantee it.

Lois Stoffle

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Comments

teachmusicscrap 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with you 100%. Statistics show that caregivers can suffer their own healthcare problems if they do not give themselves the time to recharge their own batteries. In my opinion, "recharging your own batteries" does not mean that you have abandoned the person you love and are caring for. You are merely making yourself healthy so that you can give 100% to them when you are with them.

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IMO 1 year, 9 months ago

Those who had to make comments asking you if you felt guilty or selfish for leaving Ron at The Haven should feel guilty for even sticking their noses into your business. Why on earth should you feel guilty? I think it is awesome that there is a place such as the Haven that is willing to take people and make sure they enjoy their day, making a little better quality of life for them.

Folks have no idea of all that you have on your plate and how much you do. Not only do you take care of Ron 24/7 but you are always the first one in line to help others when needed, and you have a neighbor who relies on you to help her through her chemo treatments. Why are people so cruel? They can think whatever they like, but it sure would be nice if they kept their thoughts to themselves. I guarantee you that they couldn't keep up with you and all that you do. I truly don't think I'd ever have the patience that I've seen you display around Ron. You and Ron have shared a wonderful life together and I know it hurts you to see him have to deal with what he is going through, knowing you can't cure him and make things all right and back to where they were. So I hope he gets to continue his weekly social visits and fun times and you should never feel guilty about anything.

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