How humans live:
Baby is born (healthy and able-bodied…. or not) and is totally dependent for one year.
If able-bodied, the baby develops and with nurturing, enters school.
Child may have an allergy, asthma, ADHD or a broken leg from learning to ski.
In secondary school, child may require treatment for mental illness/anxiety and express feelings of loneliness.
In university, grown child may use drugs for enhanced study ability, to self-medicate anxiety or for recreation.
Adult is employed, marries and has child. Child may or not be healthy.
Adult’s partner is diagnosed with cancer which goes into remission after intensive treatment.
Adult’s mother-in-law diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
Adult’s teen child suffers neck injury in car crash, requiring ongoing treatment for one year.
Adult retires from work.
Adult’s parents become infirm and require daily phone calls and weekly visits. Parents are moved into care home.
Parents and in-laws require intensive care until they die.
Adult suffers heart attack and adjusts life style. Cancer recurs in spouse.
And so it goes.
NB: If the first baby is born with significant disabilities, intensive care will be provided over the lifetimes of all concerned.
You get the idea. Throughout our lives, we are constantly in need of care, or we are giving care. We care for our babies, our children, our parents, our sisters and brothers and for our neighbors. We care for our friends, our co-workers, our clients, our bosses and sometimes strangers.
We need to collectively realise that giving and receiving care is part of life. And we need to begin making it easier. It should be easier to do what is natural and what is right. It shouldn’t be so difficult, so lonely and so unsupported. A very clever colleague recently remarked, “We have social networking. So now, what we need is care networking.”
We can change to make a better world for caregivers and their loved ones. I know it. Let’s begin today.