The family caregiver’s hope quotient

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Each person reading this post has experienced a time when their hope quotient was at an all time low.

The definition of hopeless: 1) feeling or causing despair about something; 2) inadequate, incompetent.

When life happens, as it always does regardless of our preferences, we’re bound to find ourselves unable to manufacture even a modicum of hope to get us through the circumstances in which we find ourselves:

  • The loss of a job and the financial repercussions resultant from that loss.
  • Crimes against our body or our property.
  • Relationship disruptions.
  • The devastating diagnosis of a debilitating disease: cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease.

Hope isn’t what a person feels when the rug has been yanked out from underneath them and their very existence as they knew it, maybe even just five minutes earlier, takes an irreversible turn.To be sure, that’s how quickly hope can take a nosedive. Equally as quick, we can not imagine we will ever feel happy again, nor can we imagine not being overwhelmed with how life has showed up. In an instant, our level of hope took a nosedive.

Think for a moment, however, of the surprising and enlightening moment when in the midst of despair, you felt the possibility of normalcy, of blissful status quo. It came as a complete shock to you that you could actually smile and be grateful, regardless of how fleeting the moment and regardless of how horrible you felt just seconds before. I wonder if we struggle too hard to feel hope, whether that active struggle gets in the way of actually experiencing hope. Perhaps what is most needed is simply opening our eyes, our mind, and our heart expansively so that we are more aware of the lightness and promise that come our way.

The family caregiver oftentimes feels lost, alone, and without the needed resources required of someone thrust into the role of provider-of-everything for a loved one. If you tell that person “All is not hopeless, come on, don’t give up hope” you’ve not done them any favors. Although what you have said may hold an element of truth, only the person staggering on the mine-filled caregiving road has the ability to recognize hope when they see it; their vision is what counts, not the untainted vision of others.

My debut novel, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO, paints a clear picture of what hopelessness feels and looks like. It is not a sugar-coated account of how Alzheimer’s inserts itself into the lives of families, but it is an account that clearly provides the “hope of hope” that exists when caregivers, and their acquaintances, become teammates on the fast moving caregiving carousel. Of the many issues covered in REQUIEM, the novel’s storyline shows the difference between solo caregiving and team caregiving, the latter being that which can fill the hope quotient to a healthy level.

Requiem for the status quo is currently available for preorder at Black Rose Writing; enter discount code PREORDER2017 before July 20th for a 10% discount. You can also preorder Requiem at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Be sure to shop around for the best price, you won’t be sorry you did. And for those of you with eReaders, the eBook will be available at most online book retailers on, or about, July 27th.


2 thoughts on “The family caregiver’s hope quotient

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    July 12, 2017 at 5:34 am

    “Their vision is what counts, not the untainted vision of others.” This is so true, Irene.


      Irene Olson responded:
      July 12, 2017 at 7:11 am

      The uninformed and inexperienced can not possibly understand the challenges.


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