I’m not a big fan of reality TV shows. The “supposedly” unscripted real-life situations to me are far from a virtual tour through life. That said, I do find myself entertained from time to time at the subject matter some creative person comes up with to actually create a show. Unbelievable…
I visited with a dear friend recently who has been caring for her sweet mother for many years. Once healthy and mobile, age and illness is slowly taking its toll Painful neuropathy, crippling arthritis and diminishing eyesight have teamed up to challenge her spirit and soul. My friend is tired and I often see glimpses of resentment, despite her deep love, respect and genuine concern for providing the care she deserves. This scenario could easily be a true reality tv show, however the ratings would struggle.
Days are long – mom needs help dressing, bathing, and now even getting up from a chair. She can no longer fix her own meals, and reading even a few sentences of a large print book strains her eyes. Yet my friend patiently and lovingly cares for her and considers this a gift to her mom and to herself – most days. You see, my friend doesn’t sleep all night, gets little excercise, has diminishing time to spend with friends and she herself is beginning to look.. worn out. I am concerned, as we all should be.
THIS my friends is the reality of our times. For lawmakers, business and community leaders, clergy, neighbors, families and friends – we MUST come together on this silent epidemic happening all around us. For the organizations like Meals-on-Wheels , Area Agencies on Aging and others who are struggling to serve the exploding needs of our homebound elders, it’s time that we come together in communities large and small to address the devastating issues facing our caregivers, who WE need to be caring for. They are silent because they are exhausted, overwhelmed, burned-out and isolated.
The exponential benefits of just one person reaching out to one caregiver or elder is huge. I see every day those whose visits, phone calls, homemade meals, or helping hands warms the hearts of entire families. They, then can pass on the gift – and the caring chain continues.
Be a part of that chain to your co-worker, friend, neighbor, family member, church parishoner. No, it’s not reality TV. It’s the reality of today, tomorrow and many years to come.