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Where Are All the Happy Caregiving Endings?

Okay, I admit it. I have a new favorite past time…

Every few days I dig into my Google Analytics to find out how folks find my site.

I’d imagine that my new activity is a bit like dumpster diving (although I’ve never done that) – lots of useless pieces of information to be uncovered, but occasionally a true find that makes it all seem worthwhile.

You might remember that a few weeks ago I was humbled at 6:00 a.m. to learn that one visitor’s path to my site began with the words: “Caring for aging parents will mean the end of my career.”

Finding this heartfelt expression in the heap of keywords left me momentarily frozen. I’m a social worker, after all, a mental health clinician who has provided hundreds of hours of therapy to people at various stages of their life (and death) over the years.  Sentiments like the one expressed are deeply familiar to me and my instinct is to respond…

After a moment or two I began typing words I hoped might reach the searcher or at least resonate with other readers who feel similarly.

That post, which I sent out into the Internet Abyss less than an hour later, became one of my most popular.  It struck a chord with readers and in doing so, it also motivated me to keep diving so that I could find out more about what’s really on your minds and how I might help you.

A few days ago, with time on my hands for the first time in weeks, I went keyword diving again. Like before, a single phrase stood out. It was:

“uplifting stories about caring for aging parents”

Although I can’t be sure, my hunch is that the searcher is the same woman who left a recent comment on a post in which I talked about why family caregivers inspire me.  In it she shared that she and her siblings are just beginning to provide care to their aging parents who are paranoid about accepting their help because of all the stories that abound about older adults being swindled out of their money by greedy children.

Wouldn’t it be helpful, this reader suggested, to have some success stories to share with her parents.

I thought it was an excellent idea and if you’ll let me, I’d like to compile them.

So here’s the $64,000 question (drum roll, please):

Where are all the happy caregiving endings?

Maybe you’re in the midst of caring for an aging parent who is enormously appreciative of what you’re doing.  If so, how did it get to be that way?

And if you’re not the recipient of enormous appreciation for your daily sacrifices, how do you manage that as the reader I mentioned may need to?  Through my past work I know that some of you have lived extraordinary relationships with your parents through caregiving while others of you can’t imagine happiness until caregiving ends.

If you’re in the last boat, you won’t find any judgement here.  Caregiving is hard and rest feels good.  Many people feel tremendous guilt around this, but I wish they wouldn’t.  We are all human…

So if you’re caring for an aging parent right now, I hope you’ll take a moment to let me know what a “happy caregiving ending” would look like to you.  I’ll then share these stories (anonymously if you’d like) in the months ahead so we can all learn.

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What's your "happy caregiving ending"?

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