Sunday, May 27, 2007


I'm not the only person who cares for a disabled loved one at home, but sometimes it feels that way. As I read about the wounded veterens returning from two failing wars, my heart breaks for those family members who were just getting by and now have lifetime responsibilities dealing former soldiers with brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, or other conditions that will prevent them from having a normal life themselves with those who love them.

Folks here know that I'm rarely away from home for more than a few hours at a time. In fact, if my wife's daughter hadn't agreed to spend the weekend at our place, I'd never be able to do something like DemFest. I also have a unique form of therapy for myself for when the stresses of caregiving overwhelm me. I can take my guitar into the subway and scream at the world for a couple of hours, and this has kept me balanced through the years.

I've heard about the ways that our veterens are being screwed nine ways to Sunday by the greedy cowards that sent them off to fight their war crime. Men and women who have sacrificed so much are being screwed out of their rightful benefits. They return home and for many, their middle class existence is a thing of the past and a wife or husband, parent or sibling is now faced with the double hardship of caring for a severely disabled person at home and trying to keep the roof over their heads, or their children in school.

If only this great nation could provide for these caregivers with the same benefits we afford to foster parents, we could lift some of the burdens that they bear, and even help to keep these families in tact. The cost to the system for home care by a family member is far less than care in a nursing facility, and far less than that of sending someone from an agency. A way should be found to share the cost saving with the overstressed, burned out and forgotten people who are in fact on the frontlines for those who cannot otherwise help themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If it works, the link above is to an Amazon listing for a book by Rosalyn Carter. It is about things to do that help you, the caregiver.

When I last worked in a bookstore, a customer came in to pick up a copy of the book she had ordered and just raved about it, said it was a great book.

The reason Rosalyn gave for doing something to help caregivers is that everyone neglects you. Everbody has been so busy thinking about those who get the care that no one has paid attention to the huge stresses that are put on those providing care.

Hope it helps.