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You Know You Are a Family Caregiver When…

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
11/21/18  4:18 PM PST
Family Caregiver

The textbook definition of a family caregiver is: “anyone who provides any type of physical and/or emotional care for an ill or disabled loved one at home. Loved ones in need of care, could be suffering from a physical or mental illness, disability, substance misuse, or other conditions.” (From Netofcare.org). Many caregivers go unrecognized by friends, family and sometimes even themselves. In order to clear that up, I created a list in the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy’s “Redneck” routine.

      You might be a family caregiver if. . .

  1. If you regularly educate not only family and friends, but also medical professionals and educators about your child, you might be a family caregiver.
  2. If the number of hours you spend caring for the needs of your loved one a week makes a full-time job pale in comparison, you might be a family caregiver.
  3. If sleeping through the night is but a pipe-dream, and you cannot remember the last time you had an uninterrupted night of sleep, you might be a family caregiver.
  4. If you wonder if you need a chauffeur’s license, not for sports or after school events, but for doctors and therapists and meetings and you suspect your car could drive itself to any of the above, you might be a family caregiver.
  5. You have a medical supply cabinet, or multiple cabinets stashed full of accouterments. There are some you no longer use, but you keep them just in case. Indeed, if you have a mini medical supply warehouse in your home, you might be a family caregiver.
  6. And that medicine cabinet (or closet, as the case may be). If you pass meds with the skill of an RN and dole them out like a pharmacy tech, you might be a family caregiver.
  7. You can’t get by without your phone. Whether it’s the dozens of calls you make a week, having it glued to your side when away from your loved one, or being able to look up new meds while in the pharmacy line and order medical supplies while in one of the many waiting rooms where you often find yourself. If your phone is a lifeline you might be a family caregiver.
  8. Friends, and sometimes even family fade out of your life when your primary focus is caring for your loved one. Not all of the people in your life can understand that, and some don’t even try. But the ones who do are indispensable and treasured beyond words. If you know who has your back, you might be a family caregiver.
  9. Whether it’s the physical strength needed to provide the care your child’s care or the emotional strength you have built to keep going against so many odds. You didn’t get this role in life because you already had the strength, rather you built up your strength in order to fulfill the role you were handed. If you give a whole new meaning to the word “strong,” you might be a family caregiver.
  10. If you didn’t choose this life, and yet you wouldn’t trade it, you might be a family caregiver.

Life as a caregiving parent is never glamorous. It’s often unnoticed and misunderstood. I am proud to be a family caregiver, and wish my fellow caregivers a Happy Family Caregiver Awareness Month!

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom.

Follow her on Facebook.

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