There is neither enough time in the day nor ways to express the awareness and gratitude you deserve. The assistance that you have provided and continue to do for your loved ones deserves to be shouted from atop buildings and written on those banners you see dragged behind airplanes. Regardless of how disability has been introduced to your life, whether a person was born with their disability or developed one later in life, you stepped right in. Especially in the early phases, while everyone is still trying to figure out how to adjust and survive. Developing a routine and pooling together information come in a crash-course that at times can feel like trying to drink from a fire hose. Of course the severity and type of disability play a role, as each type of disability comes with its own unique traits. Those traits dictate the needs in regards to the frequency and extent of assistance that a person needs. These relationships are certainly unique.
Consider some of the dynamic(s) that are involved. Sometimes, the person with a disability has a need that their life literally depends on others for assistance. That small factor aside, a dynamic that truly makes these relationships unique, is its close quarter nature. When family are also functioning as a caregiver, the person with a disability often lives in the same home as the family member providing the care. Think about that and when you have a stressful day at work. At the end of the day, most jobs typically get to leave and go back to your own life, a chance to separate, unwind, and perhaps vent about the day. Those aren’t really as easy to do when you live under the same roof. The only person around to hear you vent, may just be the same one that is the source of those feelings in the first place. Those with disabilities have responsibilities too in these relationships. Often, people with disabilities are harder and more vocal with their own opinions and frustrations to family members in the caregiving role than they are with a non-family under the same circumstances. As someone that has been in this scenario, I make it a point to say please and thank you with any request. May not seem like much, but I feel it is important to recognize tat you did something for me and I appreciate it. Plus, nobody wants to be around someone where they are constantly told what to do and never treated wit respect or common courtesy.
Additionally, much of the assistance and care is provided without financial gains being the incentive. When a caregiver isn’t available for whatever reason, family and friends are the ones looked to for providing support. Caregivers, sorry if I break this news to you, but you most likely are not going to get rich from the service(s) you provide. Although, you are definitely an important figure in the live(s) of those you help. If the person with a disability is Medicaid eligible, check into Home Help Services and getting paid for the service(s) you provide. Caregivers deserve to be paid, and in many cases should be being paid more.
As I mentioned earlier, your willingness to set aside those minor incidents and help a loved one cannot be thanked enough or reciprocated in kind. I know I speak for many other people when I give my deepest and most sincere THANK YOU for all that you have done. I know it has not always been easy, but your support and assistance over time has been unmeasurable. THANK YOU to all of you out there with the ability and willingness to help a loved one.