Letter: Caregivers deserve valuable time off
June 25, 2012
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.