Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Caring For The One You Love

“I take you to be my lifelong partner, to have and
hold from this day forward, for better or for worse,
for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to
love and to cherish, until death do us part.”

Do these words sound familiar? Did you say them at your wedding? Did you think something similar when you decided that this special person is going to be your life partner for ever and ever? Do you still feel this loving commitment to your spouse? Have you committed yourself in an equally meaningful fashion to your aging parents or to a deeply loved friend?

When we make this wonderful, exciting, life changing decision, few of us think of that faraway time when we may not only be the mutually satisfying partner, best friend, or happy child of that loved one, but also his or her full time caregiver.

For every person who can no longer care for himself or herself because of aging, disease, dementia, or the myriads of other end-of-life difficulties, there is usually a caring, giving person who remains, with either the earnest desire or the obligation to care for the loved one who is now in ultimate need.

Fifty-two million people in America currently provide care to an adult partner, friend or family member. Nearly one out of every four households is the center of care giving for someone over age 50; an additional seven million Americans are long-distance caregivers for older relatives.

Are you ready for this life changing, often career ending experience? Is the person who will now be dependent on your daily care, ready to accept his or her new passive role in life?

It is important for all of us to begin thinking and planning for this final most important episode in life. It is necessary for you and your loved one to plan now for all the possibilities and to begin instituting procedures for all of the aging and end-of-life steps each of you will be required to take. Invite your loved one to go with you on this journey of ultimate discovery. You will both learn how to help one another as you grow older, wiser, and more self-reliant entering those final “golden years”.

And, of course, the extraordinary secret of our lives is that we never know until then who the caregiver will be and who will be the one that finally receives the care.

In the next few blogs, I will explore with you many helpful hints which can set both of your lives in order, so that you and the one you love will enjoy many happy, healthy, stress-free “golden years” together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying your musings, insights, humor and wisdom. I am most curious about your statement, "this final most important episode in life" Can you expound on how you have come to that position? thank you amigo, rcs