Sunday, August 09, 2009

AARP offers article, video by Gail Sheehey on abused caregivers (usually women, usually wives)

The AARP website has a story by Gail Sheehy about caregivers who feel abused by their loved ones, and gives an example of a wife caring for an obstinate husband who lived four years with advanced colon cancer. She gives the odd perspective of the caregiver “playing God” which does not sound like an intuitive way to perceive it. The story is “The Only One they Trust” AARP link is here.

There is a video “The Labyrinth of Caregiving” on the story where Mary Tinker speaks and discusses how her husband insisted that she be the only person who touches him (even when Medicare hospice became available) and that no one else provide intimate care. The fact that he was a male spouse ("till death to us part") certainly contributed to the situation. She describes this expectation of absolute loyalty as a ”power trip”, often put on women especially; and, she says, a “bunch of bunk.

Gail’s book on the subject is “Passages”. The AARP lead-in is “Abused caregivers: moving on with life”. I couldn’t find the book on Amazon yet.

Gail feels that caregivers should make full use of the hands-on support services available in the community. This would be especially true for adult children, perhaps even more so than spouses. Some people feel that people who do “outsource” the physical care are “exploiting” others (the old left-wing, or sometimes right-wing, ideology) but both Mary and Gail would consider this hogwash.

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