Parents live into their late 80‘s and even 90’s nowadays, so caregiving has become a predictable occupation for women in midlife. The average family caregiver today is a 45 to 48-year-old woman who still has at least one child at home and holds down a paying job.
Imagine this scenario. She gets a call. ‘Your mother has had a stroke,’ OR ‘Your father’s run a red light and hit someone.’ You think; how am I going to persuade him to stop driving and give up his car? OR, your husband calls to give you the results of his biopsy.
When I became a caregiver, my children already had families of their own and I was a grandmother. Becoming my husband’s caregiver, I discovered that there were many rewards in store for me. It meant that I could return the love and care he’d always given me and when that role turned into a marathon and the demands intensified, I joined a support group which was helpful. It became necessary to take time off for myself, so whenever possible, I took time off. I made sure to do something pleasurable like listening to classical music or visiting the beach where I sat on the shore and watched the waves. Sometimes my husband accompanied me and we strolled along the white sand while watching the sun set over the ocean. I also read a lot and wrote short stories that helped me escape into any world I chose to visit at that particular moment, and that provided the necessary break from the caregiving role I had been thrust into.