Caregiving: The Value of Life

Aging

The value of life can be seen in caregiving for loved ones. This is one instance of seeing that value in action.

Martin is dedicated to help his father improve mentally and physically.  Henry was an active 93 year old until he had a stroke in August.  After hospitalization and a nursing home stay for rehabilitation, Henry returned home at the beginning of December.  In spite of having physical and occupational therapy at home, Henry’s health  continued to decline. Most of his days were spent lying in bed alone with only occasional human contact from his son trying to sleep for a few hours before returning to work.

Martin works nights so he can be available during the day for his father.  Martin considers it a good day if he is able to sleep for six hours.  His wife works during the day while their children attend school.  Martin’s desire to care for his father has caused a strain on the family.  The physical stress on Martin is visible by changes in his health and a constant state of exhaustion.

But — Martin believes in the value of life.  In the case of his father, he retained my caregiving company to provide support.  The care not only included personal care for bathing and toileting but also exercise, speech therapy and companionship.  Henry had a desire to improve and regain mobility and strength in spite of being virtually bed bound and nearly paralyzed on the left side of his body.

Henry smiled when the caregiver arrived in the morning and again in the afternoon.  He held the caregiver’s hand as she read to him and showed him flash cards for him to read and speak from  to improve his speech.  He willingly participated in each repetition of exercises.  Progress was made step by step, little by little, day by day.  The care provider smiled each time he repeated a new word and each time he performed an exercise.  This interaction was an amazing gift between two individuals.  One who wanted to please by doing exercises and improving his overall health, the other, a gifted caregiver, with a gigantic heart rewarded and given hope by witnessing each tiny improvement.

For those involved as professional and family caregivers, there is beauty in the value of life represented by Martin, in his father, in the support of Martin’s wife, in his children, in the caregiver and in the desire of Henry to improve in spite of many limitations.   For those with strong beliefs, there is beauty in the value of life.  There is the hope in the ability to improve.  Hope springs from the value of human contact and relationships.

©2013 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved

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