Finding the right caregiver is not an easy process. Caregivers become a part of the fabric of your lives, helping your loved one in the most intimate ways and a witness to your everyday life. In the beginning, I didn’t know what to ask or how to evaluate who would be the right one. There was the one who seemed too meek or the one who asked to borrow money and pouted when I finally said no more. But he had a great rapport with my husband and all I wanted was that they would treat him with the loving care and respect he deserved.
I was completely taken by the one who used to be a physical therapist in the Philipines, with his ready smile and easy manner. But then he started asking every day, “How is he today? Is he better?” as if there would have been miraculous improvement from when he had left us at 5 p.m. the previous day to 7 a.m. the next morning. “Will he get better?”
The last straw was when he asked, “Why doesn’t he talk? Is it because he’s lazy?”
I felt blood rushing to my cheeks. “It’s because of his brain injury,” I explained, in a raised voice. “It’s not about laziness, it’s not about his not trying. His receptive language is intact, he can understand and follow everything you say but he can’t express himself. He wants to speak but he can’t.”
When I got to work that day, the first call I made was to the caregiving agency I use. I should have trusted my gut reactions at the beginning when I was starting to doubt if he was the right one. The lesson learned was to not feel beholden to any one person.
Our caregiver now has been with us for nine years. We are grateful for his skill, care and trust which makes our current life possible.