I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a safe, Happy New Years! Now it’s time to tear apart the evolution of society as it relates to elder care!
I work with the elderly and handicapped as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA). I, and others like me, care for society’s most vulnerable members. For me, this is a stepping stone into professional health care. Once my offspring is a little older, I intend to expand my field of knowledge and explore all the ways I can best serve my community.
This is one of those jobs that no one wants. Seeing the dying, frail and defeated; being mental support for those who feel they are no longer loved or needed; showing tenderness to someone’s mother or father as though they are your own. This job makes you face your own mortality on a daily basis – to face the fear of what might happen to you once you are no longer in the bloom of youth, if you got into a car crash or hit your head real hard. It’s no cup of tea seeing first hand how fragile our lives and bodies can be. The refusal and/or reluctance to face this painful inevitability is certainly one of the catalysts to losing our ability to have patience, caring and compassion for others. To do this work, you need to be incredibly strong on an emotional level. It is a strength that develops over time and never ceases to test you.
We don’t live in multi-generational family units anymore, immersed in the fantasy of what we will do once we leave the homes where we were raised. As a result, we are no longer exposed to our elderly and aging relatives. We are ignorant to the care they require later in life. Their greatest need is emotional support: someone to be there to ask how they are or if they need anything at the store, someone to drive them to an appointment or just sit with them a while and share a cup of tea. They really like it when you ask questions about their lives and show genuine interest in the answers and stories they tell. When did THAT become a thing people needed to be told to do and how to do it?! Elder respect?! Woah! *Mind blown*
Their reality is difficult for us to face, I know, but think about them and how much they have loved and how hard they have worked. They were 30-something at one point, too. There is no greater gift you can give your parents and grandparents than your time, attention and energy. Show them that they did a top shelf job raising you. If you have kids, model behavior like respect, hard work, generosity and patience. Let your aging loved ones memories and feelings be those of pride in the quality of humans they have added to society. If they are at the end stage of their lives, this behavior could help them relax enough to move on. I know it sounds nuts, but it’s true. This sense of responsibility, duty and moral obligation needs to be reawakened, our current path is de-evolution and nothing of substance will come of it. *Steps down from soap box* Moving along…
Many families can’t do it on their own and need the help of trained professionals. This is where I come in. I studied for 10 months, practiced, tested and trained. I have laughed, cried and screamed through this process. Learning the medical aspects as well as how to be with people in this capacity is a lot to swallow but it is important work. Learning how to touch adults in such an intimate manner without feeling awkward was more challenging than I expected but after doing it a few times it became nothing. It’s just a lot of physical and emotional hurdles to overcome and not everyone is cut out to do it.
Now, one thing I do have LOTS of experience with is dealing with how the public interacts with handicapped individuals. I’d like to share some observations. My mother is physically handicapped. She is a polio survivor. She has what is now known as post polio syndrome. She walks funny and she always gets the good parking spots at the grocery store, we call it ‘Rock Star Parking’.
Since I was little, I’ve noticed people staring. Gawking. Slack jawed wonder. Glaring at us until the blue sticker gets hooked on the rear view and then waiting around to inspect what makes her deserve it. Impatiently trying to shove past as to not have to wait the extra 30 seconds it would take to be polite. My father was awesome. He’d get loud and ask if they got a good enough look or if he should help her do a turn so they could see her leg from all angles. After my parents divorced, I picked up where he left off. I’m hyper-sensitive to this appalling behavior and it burns a fire in my belly that I WILL NOT suppress. That being said…
Why the FUCK are there so many arrogant PRICKS out there that think they’re so special?! Why the FUCK would anyone give a hard time to someone for having difficulty performing everyday tasks that we all take for granted?! Like you don’t recognize how lucky you are to be able to remember how to use money, or being able to fucking WALK or COMMUNICATE?! Or remembering why you entered a room!? How about the ability to look at an object, know what it is and how to use it?! Twat waffles… And you ASSHOLES know exactly who the fuck you are! Get over yourself and stop being a FUCKING DOUCHE! Hold the door, offer help if it looks like it’s needed and STOP FUCKING STARRING! Rude selfish bastards, that’s what you are.
Ahhhhh, I really needed to get that out! Thanks! I feel so cleansed…
Hopefully, I will leave this place a little less shitty than the way I found it. Maybe even inspire others to lend a helping hand and acknowledge that to be young and able, and without disability is a privilege that should be shared. Maybe one day caring will be again a language that everyone speaks fluently.
What are your thoughts? I wanna know! Have you ever done this type of work? What did you do? Did you like it? If you don’t have experience in this field, do you have any questions or comments? Talk to me! Let’s make 2018 the year where we talk more about the things no one thinks we should talk about! Join me on this taboo conversation journey! As always, no topic is off limits so if you have something that you want my blunt feelings and opinions on, give it to me and we’ll make magic with it!