A Career or Vocation, Caring for the Elderly?
Long ago there was a myth that a community carers life was mostly washing bottoms, that can still be true, but more seen today are the carers who mean as much as family, and in some cases more, to a lonely, fragile person.
I only have to see the faces of many of the people I care for light up when they see it is me standing at the door. Lonely people who have so much to share, so much compassion and love to give, if only they were allowed too. Elderly people whose memory is still filled with happy times when they were young, a wealth of information to share, and a mind that is still as alert as it ever was.
Many elderly people share their lives with their carer, yes still some need personal care whilst others still try to be independent will look forward to sharing a cup of tea and a chat. The time a carer spends with their clients is so precious. Relationships are bonded and the carer also gets a great benefit from those people they have bonded with. I know my life is enriched every day, and the small amount of time my schedule allows me to spend with someone is very humbling to both of us.
My old people are special. I love to listen to the tales of when they where young, how they occupied their lives, who they worked for. Many have no or little family to care for them or to let them know they are loved. That is were I come in. Sure, I do all the personal care I am expected to do, but these people deserve to be respected. Some time ago they played an important part in the community. They where mum's and dad's and loyal friends and neighbours. So often now they are considered a nuisance, and may I say, treated like a waste of space.
My heart cries out when I see so many elderly people who looking into thier eyes, have no soul left. They regard you with a sense of necessity, a tresspaser in their home, and with the best will in the world, feel degraded and useless. Do we ever stop to feel what it must be like to rely on someone for your personal care. We are by nature used to washing and dressing ourselves. Or can any one imagine what a mammouth task it can be to cook a meal or walk to the shops? In many cases the carer really is their LIFE LINE.
Is it so much to ask for humanity? A few kind words every day is a god send to so many. A kiss on the cheek when you are leaving or the odd cream cake bought or bunch of flowers given can be as precious as all the money in the world. A little of your time spent to enrich someone elses lives and give them back their respect is a small amount to pay.
In many cases carers are joked about, even some of the nursing staff we liase with see little importance in our role. But we are special people, People with enough strength of character to feel secure in loving and helping so many others. So the next time you pass a carer in the course of their duty, don't just sneer at the many bottoms they have to wash, but more appreciate the role they play. After all you may need a carer one day!
When my people pass away, it is only right that I show them my support by attending their funeral. This alone is so hard to do and many tears have been shed in the process. But I know I have helped them to maintain some quality in their lives.
So this little piece of writing is for all the elderly and much loved clients who have passed on, I miss you all, as you where generous to share your life with me, and to all my lovely people I still care for, I love you, each and every one.
We will meet again in a place where their is no suffering, where you are at last in peace and restored to your previous glory. I know you are looking down on us and I give you my promise, I will never forget you, one and all.
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