Thursday, February 25, 2010

Invisible People

Something triggered this thought recently, I can't say what it was, but the thought was that as caregivers, we are invisible people. We aren't seen, aren't heard from aren't thought about. Not all caregivers are in that category, but I'd be interested in doing a poll to see just how many felt that way!
I inadvertently tested this out earlier this week. A national restaurant was offering free pancakes, and one of my facebook friends posted that she was going to go the next morning to get some and who wanted to go? I said memememe! Of course I couldn't go, but I thought I would post on my facebook about the free pancakes and I would like some, who would like to bring some to me? As usual, higher then practical expectations develop! I did get a couple comments on it, but no real takers to see to it I could have some pancakes. Everyone, family and friends within a 50 mile radius know I am a caregiver, and most know I get out of the house very little.
I am in no ways traumatized by any of this, but I did find it interesting. There are those who I know think about me and mom, but how many there are that do not, and how many there are that do not call to see how we are and do we need anything, any help? Again it seems to come back to the, it is all up to me to ask others for help. But this pancake thing, I was all but screaming out, won't someone please see me, here I am, my husband is out of town, it is just me and mom, and I would really just love to have someone bring me some pancakes. Sigh (just did that).
So, other caregivers, do you feel like one of the invisible people, and if so, in what way?
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  1. I love pancakes. I make them on weekends. Mom loves them too. I hope someone will come and visit with you soon. We are not invisible, I think people just assume that we are too busy for visits.

  2. I think a majority of caregivers feel invisible, whether they are caregivers of aging parents or small children. Women, in particular, give and give until they are desperate for something for themselves - this is when it is easy to feel neglected. It may be helpful (and I'm talking to myself here too!) to use this feeling of invisibility as a sign to yourself to do something nice for yourself. Even just an hour off to go out for pancakes may carry you another week or more. You are a brave and giving woman -- those who are not paying attention now will look back in amazement when they find themselves in similar circumstances.

    Have you checked out my book?
    Shameful self promotion I know! but it may make you feel less alone.

  3. Hi Donna,
    I sure wish I lived nearby and we could have pan cakes together.

    I understand how you're feeling. I go through different periods of feeling lonely, especially when people have plans for trips or going shopping etc...
    I think people, if they haven't walked in our shoes, just don't realize how isolating care giving can be....
    Thanks for your sweet comments and you're so correct about having the Lord in our life doesn't make care giving easier, but it does give comfort.

  4. Hhmm, for some reason my posts to your comments has disappeared!

    So, I'll try again!

    Vicky, we use to have pancakes a lot when the grandkids would come over, but we started switching to other breakfast foods instead. Mom hasn't had pancakes in a long time, not able to eat them.

    Dorothy, the problem with going out just by myself means, my husband has to stay here, or I have to find someone who is available to come and sit, and that is seldom something that can happen spur of the moment, it always requires advance planning. Yes I have checked out your book, and no it isn't shameful self-promotion! lol We have to share what we are doing to help others, so we promote it!

    Dolores, I so miss going out for anything with someone else. My husband and I use to be able to do those things, breakfast, lunch or supper. Now it requires getting a sitter, so we haven't yet done that. I do have a couple people that I can call on now, but it all depends on what their schedules are, no impromptu things at all.
    Hope will read the sequel to Invisible People, someone saw me and responded to my request for pancakes!

    Thanks all for commenting and sharing with me!

  5. There's a saying, "When Alzheimer's hits, everyone splits." Or like when the Army asks for volunteers to step forward, and all the soldiers take a step back except one.

    When I first started this caregiver gig 8 years ago (solo, unpaid, left my community for what I thought would be 6 months), I realized what an uphill battle this would be in just having people not run away from you. Friends dropped out of sight and wouldn't hear my talking about caregiving. I think people feel guilty about what they have (have not) done regarding their parents...or they don't want to face their own future decision. I bring up too many bad things to consider. It's about as popular as talking bout having your teeth cleaned or doing your taxes. People would rather we didn't exist, but oh so happy that old Mom "is being well taken care of..." WELL, HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN and BY WHOM?

    We're invisible to the law too. Caregivers have very few legal rights regarding the parents' care...over just being a son or daughter.