I should know. I was caregiver for my late wife for seven years and for my late father for two. Both were as different as chalk and cheese in terms of the quality of the experience of caring, but in retrospect with time to reflect and having read up more on the experiences of others, I can say that there were some common features that I should have identified but missed and hence made both the care giving and the care receiving a painful process as far as my experience with my father was concerned.
Why am I suddenly raking up the past? I am neither a caregiver nor a care receiver at present and I hope that I will never become the latter ever.
One of my son, Ranjan’s young friends had been having problems with providing care for his retired widower father and had confided his problems with him. Ranjan suggested that the young man, let us call him Dilip, talk to me and so he called on me last week and shared his problems with me. I in turn shared my experiences of what I did as a caregiver for my father and also what I should have done differently and what I should not have done at all. He seemed to have been relieved that his experience was not unique and went away with the intention of taking my advice on some matters that were his current problems.
During my caregiving days I was quite active on the caregivers group informally and formally via blogs, mail, personal contacts and facebook and one such contact of those days, JS contacted me on the messenger on facebook on reading my post on Justification with advice and we had a very fruitful exchange there.
These two instances coming one after the other last week got me to reflect on my own experiences as currently I am going through a whymeitis phase with a cold / fever phenomenon attributed to the changed weather conditions by my GP. This temporary setback made me think that if I can be so debilitated with a garden variety cold due to my senior citizen status, I may end up like my father did receiving care from a son and that I should try and not be like what my father was to me.
My reflections during the last few days has given me some insights which I need to firm up before I share them with my readers which I will do shortly as a sequel to this post.