Caretakers who offer service to the elderly, challenged or bedridden are doing a great job. One needs to really appreciate their efforts. For a salary, they do all that even family members would feel squeamish about.
I have a middle aged lady stay with me to care for my very elderly mother-in-law. The elderly lady is no easy person to deal with. But the caretaker does an appreciative job of caring for her. She attends to all her needs; bathing and assisting in calls of nature, and also bringing things for her. Since she is employed, the elderly lady does not stir herself. She demands and has this lady fetch and carry for her.
This lady does not move out of the room, unless she is banished by the old lady. She sits by the foot of the bed and watches television. She has disturbed sleep at night, the old lady wakes up at least three times to void her bladder. Even then this lady does not complain, she does her work cheerfully.
This caretaker lady comes from a not so privileged background. She has a son and a daughter, both are married. She lives alone, she lost her husband a few years ago. She has no other means of earning, she does caregiver jobs. This is the first twenty four hour job she is doing. She normally does only morning shift.
She, in fact, wants to do house hold chores too. But I do not allow her. Her job is to attend to the elderly lady, and I am grateful she does it. I can do without the cleaning lady coming in, but not without this lady.
It is such a relief for me to go to work knowing there is someone taking care of my mother-in-law. There is someone to help her around and to answer the phone or doorbell, without them disturbing the old lady. Keeping a busy schedule, it had been difficult to also care for the elderly lady physically. And she can be demanding at times!
It is difficult to get reliable help. There are agencies that provide such help. But for one person to stay for so long, it is a boon. One need not feel guilty for leaving an elderly or a sick person alone at home. Yes, sometimes it is expensive, but what price peace of mind? And the option of leaving the elderly at a home is not welcome. At least for me.
Now that this lady is doing all the needy chores, when she wants a day off, I get jitters. It not only means I have to take off from work, but it also means I have to spend sleepless nights with my mother-in-law. Though she declares she slept through the night, we know she would have woken up minimum thrice. Some nights she is awake every hour. She needs to void her bladder so often.
Because of such caretakers our jobs are easier. One is able to pursue one’s profession and do a lot of stuff without any moral guilt. We were apprehensive initially, since we do hear stories of caretakers injuring the elderly and vanishing with all the valuables. We have been lucky, there has been no mishaps.
Many tend to dismiss such work. It is actually a menial job, a job without much rest. A 24 hour job. And if the person to be cared for turns out to be adamant and rigid, then the work is really cut out. Sometimes I feel bad for this lady, she really takes crap from my mother-in-law. She does not have the luxury of retaliating. She could lose her job. She patiently attends to the lady and goes about her work without complaints.
She is managing with my cooking for lunch and dinner! No complaints here. She now knows my family, they keep visiting. In fact she is fond of my grandson. He too recognizes her and grins every time he sees her.
These ladies are doing an unsung job. They are like the underbelly. A day cannot pass without them if you have an elderly or a bedridden person at home and you are employed. Leaving such a family member alone is risky; so I feel caretakers need to be treated with respect. I know many who treat them as cleaning ladies. Use them to do some household chores. This is nothing but taking advantage of their services.
I recommend such services to all those who require them. Earlier there were people at home who would be available for these elderly or bedridden. Whether the care was better is not known. But with caretakers, there is efficient care, round the clock care and less physical stress for other family members.