All lives matter, yet society needs to provide special care for those who can’t fully care for themselves
Last week I was invited by a residence which cares for those who have bipolar and schizophrenia to talk about caring for the caregiver.
I have been a caregiver for almost 20 years and enjoy sharing what I have learnt with others.
In my talk I covered the definition of a caregiver, noting that at one stage in our lives nearly all of us will be some sort of caregiver or need a caregiver.
I covered some of the essential qualities that a caregiver requires such as patience, empathy and trustworthiness.
Another important area was self-care. I noted that caregiving starts with the loved one or a person with a mental illness. Self-care includes personal hygiene, tidiness and cleanliness, being responsible for moods and behaviour and pursuing positive activities such as hobbies, exercise and livelihood pursuits.
I covered setting boundaries and limits so that there is harmony in the relationship between a caregiver and loved one. This topic drew much interest from the audience who gave their views on how important boundaries are.
Another important area was talking about support from outsiders such as psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists and skilled helpers. I mentioned that sometimes important breakthroughs can occur when an external, objective person provides insights.
I must say after this talk I reflected on all the caregivers, mom’s and dads and siblings, who I have known over the years whose loved ones have resided at this house. Many of them are have passed on and all I can say is that they tried as best as they could to give their loved ones a place in the world where they could grow and develop.
I believe it’s important, very important, for society to care for the most vulnerable in society.
However, residences such as this for those who have a mental illness do not obtain the support they deserve from their communities, provincial government and national government.
It is a sad state of affairs.
Talking to the staff, I am distressed how many hours they put into caring for their residents, taking very few breaks and working on a paltry budget.
These lives matter very much in society.