Michelle Hauser’s story in the National Post shone a light on the benefits of caring for her mother-in- law at home as opposed to a long-term care facility. For Michelle, the decision was simple. “Isolated headline-grabbing incidents notwithstanding, my greatest fear for my mother-in-law would be her suffering the loneliness and isolation with which long-term care, by its very nature, is chronically afflicted.”
Besides the rash of horror stories that have recently been in the news regarding the State of Long-Term Care there are other benefits to consider. For many, knowing their loved one is safe and cared for surrounded by family outweighs the freedom they would have if they were living in a long-term care home. Rather than scheduling visits to her husbands mother on a Sunday afternoon, she is right there sharing meals.
As Michelle pointed out in the article, “Some days are tougher than others, to be sure. There are often long stretches of quiet during the afternoon when Harriet might prefer the hustle and bustle of an institutional setting — conversation with peers, some volunteer musician’s “sensational sounds” or chair-based aerobics — to keeping house with a moody writer. But I compensate in other areas: I make good soups and snacks, peel her oranges so she doesn’t have to and, best of all, she gets to sleep in and have breakfast in her pyjamas. On balance, those things tend to make up for the dearth of recreational activities.”
Home care can be a challenging choice and we are in no way minimizing the efforts of full-time caregivers. CARP is currently running a Caregiver Campaign to fight for increased financial supports and respite opportunities so that people like Michelle who choose to provide home care, don’t suffer from caregiver burnout.
With over 8 million Canadians currently supplying home care to a family member or loved one, we are long over-due for greater awareness and increased financial supports!
As Michelle says, “As a society, we need to be looking for more creative alternatives — which might include encouraging old-fashioned living arrangements like mine — to care for our growing population of nonagenarians and centenarians.”
CARP believes its time to take care of our caregivers.
To read Michelle Hauser’s story, click here.