Saturday, May 23, 2009

Those Who Are Caregivers

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.  ~Leon Trotsky

I would like to share a few quotes from the Caregivers part of the HBO Documentary The Alzheimer's Project

From the webpage:

There are currently 10 million Americans providing 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, according to an estimate from the Alzheimer's Association. Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer's live at home, cared for by family and friends. As Bill Couturi√© explains: "Not only is it very expensive to pay for care in a nursing home, but the patient is someone you love a lot - a mother, father, spouse. Someone who has taken care of you, and so it's only natural to want to take care of them."

From the film itself:

(caregiver of her husband, Marvine, until Jackie's health forced her to put him into a nursing home for those with Alzheimer's Disease): 

I like to look my best when I go to the nursing home. One of the things that I have found out, my husband is really looking at me to see what I look like on the days when he remembers who I am

... Sometimes when you least expect it, you might feel a tug on your arm. He just may say my name, and he might just put his arm around me--and I know it's all worth it. 

Chuck (diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's): 

It gives me joy just to know that I am still alive. 

At this moment there is something beautiful going on around me and that I can enjoy, or there's something I can find that I'd be real angry about, so I choose to find the part that's really beautiful. 

Note: Chuck's ex-wife, Marianne, remarried him when she found out that he had Alzheimer's so that she could be his caretaker.

Jackie again: 

Family takes care of family. 

Where we started from, taking care of our kids, and now looking at our kids trying to take care of us... we've come full circle. 

... Very seldom do I say good-bye. I never say good-bye. We never say good-bye. 

You can watch the stories of Jackie and Marvine, Chuck and Marianne, and others online at Caregivers.

1 comment:

June Saville said...

This is such a huge problem nowadays when the extended family has diminished and couples both need to work to keep up with the bills.

Also, I see so much worry in the eyes of elderly carers of people with a disability. They wonder how they will cope as the years go by.
June in Oz