Saturday, November 1, 2008

Caring and Compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama (1935 - present)

Often a person becomes a caregiver by circumstance, when a baby is born with a disability, a parent develops Alzheimer's, an adult child comes home from war or a fully-able person develops a disabling condition. "More than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year, and 44% of them are men."* Being thrown into this unfamiliar activity of caring for a family member, whether it be full- or part-time, brings up a multitude of questions and feelings.

What needs to be done, and how should it be done? There are classes and tip lists available. The person you are suddenly caring for is still your baby, your parent, child or loved one who needs help with mobility, dementia, errands or meals. "The value of the services family caregivers provide for 'free' is estimated to be $257 billion a year. That is twice as much as is actually spent on home care and nursing home services."* The National Family Care Association has an even higher estimate. Wow.

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