Caregiving, LizaMcC

July 16, 2021

Full time forever Caregivers

heart on a clothes line to represent full time forever caregivers
I'm WillowjakMama!

My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. Now it's my favourite place to be.

hey there

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few years of my life in the homes and lives of forever full-time caregivers. And I’m here to tell you, people, it’s impressive. More impressive than any home run or a three-point shot made from across the court. It’s more impressive than any Olympic gold medal or any seven-figure salary. 

Here’s the thing, wherever I’m working in a care setting I go home exhausted. I feel tired physically from the doing personal care and support. I feel mentally exhausted from being “on” and holding people’s lives in my hand for the entirety of my shift. I’m not saying that other people don’t leave their jobs tired. I am saying that this is a different kind of tired. 

I can spend a low-key shift watching a movie or doing crafts. But, while doing this there are one million other things to think about. You need to make sure that the resident over there won’t trip on the coffee table. And while you’re looking away you need to make sure that the resident doing the craft doesn’t put anything in their mouth. You keep checking the time to make sure there is still enough time in the day to complete everyone’s personal care. While you’re thinking about the time, you start to think about who might be hungry, who needs meds, who needs to go to the bathroom, who is bored, who might need x, y, or z. Then you’re looking back at the coffee table to make sure the resident made it safely around. Next, you’re back doing the craft. And then you hear a strange noise that you should maybe just go check out. See what I mean? 

This is just an example, but it gives you an idea on how when working or being a caregiver (especially for more than one person) you are always on high alert. This story is not for pity, it’s just a story for context. 

But here’s the thing, I get to go home. I don’t work full time or live at the group home and I leave the Haley’s every night when I’m done for the day. I go home and I think I’m tired. But I get to home and take a long shower, go for a walk, have dinner with my family, watch some reality television while drinking a tea and then head to bed at a reasonable hour and be responsible for nothing other than myself. Likewise, I can also leave work and head out to dinner with a friend or go away for the weekend. I feel tired but there are so many opportunities for me to recuperate and rejuvenate for the next day. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’m strong enough to be a true full-time caregiver. I get emotionally and mentally exhausted so easily just after one shift. Full-time caregivers are a different breed and I admire their strength. I think we need a different word because I don’t think people should classify me in the same category as full-time caregivers (someone like Stacey). Because I get to walk out the door at the end of the day. It would have to be some sort of word that encompasses their true super-human powers. I care for people but I’m in a different category because I get to go home. 

They don’t just give care. They are time givers. Money givers. Energy givers. Love givers. Food givers. Every little thing they can give they do

Full-time caregivers are easy to forget about because they are so hidden, busy, and tired. Don’t forget because these are our the world’s most important people whom we must protect at all costs. There is no stronger person out there. After spending so much time in the homes of these families, I get overwhelmed just taking it all in and yet somehow these families/caregivers seem to manage it all. Without seeing it first hand you might not know how many layers there are to manage in these houses. So I’m writing this post to show you, that I can tell full-time forever caregiving is a life full of love and messes and joy and busyness but it can also be really, really hard. 

I am not saying that a life of caregiving full time is miserable. People who require care are more often than not really lovely humans. I am not saying that I go running out of the door after a shift because I can’t imagine spending another second at work. I am saying that full-time forever caregiving is something that a lot of us will never understand but we mustn’t forget about. 

Look for your {insert new word here to describe full-time forever caregivers here} and ask how you can help. We people who live outside the doors of full-time care won’t really ever truly understand, but we can sure as heck try our best. 

Liza McClelland

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  1. […] about Liza’s writing on the Willowjak blog. Read “Every Almond Counts“, “Full Time Forever Caregivers” and “I Could […]

  2. […] I carried more than a usual set of baseline worry. Liza wrote a great post about how caregivers are always on. And that’s something that has been made worse (though as Liza points out perhaps made a little […]

Hi, I'm Stacey.
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Willowjak Blog 

My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. We chat about themes that are often ignored and voices that aren't often given a chance at the mic. Now it's my favourite place to be. 

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