The Longest Day. The attached article by Author, Ann Hedreen, can be found linked above, and you can find additional well-written articles on her blog The Restless Nest. Reader alert: Ms. Hedreen’s book, Her Beautiful Brain, will be released September of this year.
Was it long, because it was fun-filled and absolutely fabulous, or was it long because the day was crammed with the most difficult and stressful experiences of your life?
Caregivers: you are heroes to all who understand the job that you’ve taken on as carers for your loved ones. You live the 36-hour day with all of its burdens and insurmountable challenges, while across the United States there’s much discussion – even controversy – over raising the minimum wage. In contrast, there you are earning no wage but working harder than you’ve ever worked before.
Loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementia: your disease-controlled days might seem to have no beginning or end; you go about your day trying to fulfill its challenges while perhaps being at the stage in your disease where you are still able to feel the frustrations of not grasping the how-to of tasks that prior to your diagnosis required no complex thought processes on your part.
Those who have yet to be intimately involved in the above-mentioned roles: look around you – you won’t have to look far – and then on this year’s longest day, Saturday, June 21st, do what you can to help the co-worker or neighbor who desperately needs your help but doesn’t know how to ask for it, or is too ashamed to admit that they can’t do it all.
When you offer help, please don’t leave it open-ended. Instead of saying to your neighbor, “Hi yah, Joe. Be sure to call me if you need anything,” be more specific so it’s easier for Joe to accept your offer, “Joe, when I get out my lawnmower this weekend, I’d love to swing by your place and take care of your lawn so you won’t have to.” Or how about, “Yah know, we’re always making more food than we can eat at our house so we just freeze the leftovers for another time. Can I come by later this week and give you a week’s worth of meals so you don’t have to concern yourself with what to fix for dinner?”
And then keep it up because your neighbor or co-worker’s life isn’t going to get any easier. Keep offering tangible ways in which to provide assistance and you’ll go a long way towards making the longest day – which is every day in the life of a caregiver – a bit easier to tackle.