Family caregivers often find themselves in need of inspiration when challenges of providing care seem overwhelming.
On good days, the caregiving road is smoothly paved with no bumps and we can move quickly, enjoying the path that we travel.
Some days this very same road is riddled with potholes that sprout up without warning, stalling our progress.
On too many days, the road contains nothing but obstacles that stop us in our tracks.
It is on these troubling days that family caregivers require some inspiration to get them back on smooth footing.
A Story of Inspiration
Reminders that family caregivers are doing not just the best that they can but fulfilling a promise to another human being that they will care for them lovingly.
Every day things may not go just right and you may question your actions and decisions. But these moments of trepidation should be fleeting so that you can move on and continue to give care.
Because caregivers may need a little more inspiration to forge ahead, here is a story you may find inspiring.
It was written by Loren Eiseley in 1969 as part of a 16 page essay entitled the Star Thrower. The original story describes the narrator walking along the beach early one morning in the predawn twilight, when he sees a man picking up a starfish off the sand and throwing it into the sea. The narrator is observant and subtle, but skeptical; he has seen many “collectors” on the beach, killing countless sea creatures for their shells.
It has been adapted by many over the proceeding years to what we most often hear.
Despite it’s origins, it fits today’s caregiving!
The Starfish Story
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked: “Young man, what are you doing?”
The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
The man laughed to himself and said, “do you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference.”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf, then smiling at the man, he said: “I made a difference to that one.”
We really like this story and have heard from many caregivers is has meaning to them. That’s why The Shop at Senior Care Corner® includes gifts for family caregivers that were inspired by the Starfish Story.
Importance of Family Caregiving
Family caregivers are making real differences in the lives of their senior loved ones — just as you are.
Without you there to coordinate their healthcare, provide for their personal needs, maintain their safety, or perform countless other tasks large and small, they may have no choice but to move from their beloved home to a facility.
You are not just meeting their care needs, but also brightening their day and relieving their boredom, sometimes even preventing depression.
According to Pew Research, there are 40.4 million unpaid family caregivers. The 2015 Report of Family Caregivers from AARP found the average caregiver provides about 24 hours of care each week. This amount of caregiving would cost an estimated $470 billion in 2013 if you weren’t there according to Family Caregiver Alliance. These statistics show the value in time and money that caregivers provide for older adults.
It is vital that family caregivers care for themselves so that they can continue to be there for their seniors. You may not think you have time for yourself or that it is selfish to put yourself on the list, but your senior needs you.
Care recipients might not thank you regularly (or even at all), but you are making a difference in their lives, just as the boy on the beach was making a difference in the life of each starfish.
On those days when it seems nothing is going right or all the decisions you must make seem more than you can handle, remember the boy and the starfish — what you are doing is important!
You are the difference to your senior loved one!