In another thread, the subject of caregiver burnout came up. I’m sure there are plenty of books about caregivers, and for caregivers, if one wants to understand what caregivers go through and how they sustain themselves. But I thought I would start a thread in case anyone would like to share their thoughts on what it means to be a caregiver- the downfalls and the rewards.

It’s an interesting family dynamic that various family members wouldn’t dream of being a caregiver to the ill loved one, whereas other family members wouldn’t dream of not being a caregiver.

One thing is for sure- it takes a lot of balance to serve as a caregiver- to selflessly care for the ill loved one while maintaining one’s own emotional and physical health.

What I find interesting is that whcih both the ill loved one and the caregiver can do to best understand each other in order to work as a team and to be sensitive to each others needs.

If I love or care about someone I just want to help. That’s me that’s my nature.

I don’t see being a caregiver as a selfless act. We get something in return. Helping my dad to be the best he can be, enables him to be well enough to help me when I need it.

We are not just automatically sensitive to each others needs and we know it. There is never the resentment and fights I see other families have because someone isn’t sensitive. If we have a need 1st it is expressed then the other person becomes sensitive to that need. No one is expected to be sensitive to a need before it is expressed.

I also think it is important to note that in my case being a caregiver is made much much easier by physicians understanding my role and circumstances. I am very fortunate in that all of mom’s doctors and dad’s have never asked me to take a responsibility I wasn’t comfortable with, nor have they put an extra burden on me because of policies and rules.
How I got so lucky I don’t know but I’m not knocking it and I thank the higher power everyday that I have it.

I think the response you get from caregivers, will come from the attitude they have not necessarily the actual “role” of caregiving.

I too have always been if you love someone and they need your help, you are there.
Taking care of Ralph has truly been a “joy” because for the first time in 42 years he really understands about being a care giver. Since I was 8 yrs old I have taken care of my mother (she had a nervous break down) my dad could not read so at 8 I took care of the bills and took care of her.
Five years after I got married, my dad was very sick and mom and I took care of him. I had thee daughters to take care of also.
After dad passed my in-laws became ill and once again I was the care giver. After they passed on then it was my time to take care of mom.
All this while working a full time job raising 3 daughters, running a house and taking college credits. When mom passed July 4, 2000 I thought the girls are grown and married maybe it is our time to enjoy life. It was not to be Ralph became sick and we started down the road to dialysis.
So for me care giving is just a natural part of my life. I would not trade any of it. Sure there are times it gets strssful.
Right now I take care of Ralph and go to all his dr appointment, work a 30 hour work week and run my travel business at night out of our home.
So Ralph now does all the cooking and laundry etc. and helps mow the lawn.Before he would never to any house hold chores “that was women’s work” He was brought up that way by his parents.
We do so much together and we really do enjoy our time together.
If it was not for nocturnal I know in my heart that he would not be with me.
There are days that I just do nothing if I am feeling stressed. But those are rare.
We thank GOD every day.
Sorry this is so long.

Sorry all, I thought I was signed in.


I know the same thing you do. Had it not been for nocturnal my dad wouldn’t be with me either. You’ve had quite a life girl… Hats off to you and all of those who have your attitude, caring, and stamina.

I have been with my husband since I was 16. thats 26 years. He has been sick for 25 years, with dialysis, transplant, heart,and now liver among other things. I have never once thought of leaving because it was to hard on me, It is much harder on him.

I have had children to bring up with my husband. I babysat for years, my neices and nephews so their parents could go to work. We both work 20 hours a week driving disable kids to and from school- a very rewarding job. :slight_smile:

It hasn’t been easy with all the stress, but if I had to do it all over again, I would not have a doubt in my mind of doing it. I know we will have alot more years of ill health and I will be there, because I want to be.

Yes, it gets fustrating at times and as we are getting older, I have recently been in alot of pain with a back injury. During this time we found out just how hard it would be if we were both sick. But, I am better now and things are getting back to normal. :slight_smile:

It was very hard also this second time around when he went back on dialysis. We both cried for a while, but then you get up and get on with it. :slight_smile:

I love helping him.
“He is my right side, I am his left side and together we make a whole.” Any other way it just wouldn’t work.

I have never thought of myself as a caregiver.
Just a wife, mother, lover and a partner for life. We are soul mates.