A person tends to a giant flower in it's various phases


My husband gave a talk to our group of international students with the illustration of how many things our cell phones replace. He had a very heavy trunk on stage that contained a vintage, super weighty typewriter and a ream of paper. He pulled out a thick phone book, atlas, and street map, neatly folded into a wad. Remember street maps and AAA Triptiks?

Out of that trunk, he could pull a TV and movie screen, a doctor, a train timetable, newspaper, magazine, library, video game console, mailbox, camera, and, oh yeah, a telephone.

Smartphones vs. caregivers

I did a little google search and found an article in the UK's Daily Mail from 2017. It said there are 50 things you would have to "lug around to replace your smartphone." They would weigh 75 lbs and cost 1400 pounds to buy individually. That was about 1800 dollars.

At the time, it was about half the cost of the latest iPhone. You would pay a little more for that iPhone today and a lot more for everything else.

What is my "value"?

It got me to thinking about how many things I do as a caregiver. I want to start saying "care partner," but that is another story. What items do I replace? What is my "value"? We will not discuss my weight.

My mom lives with us, and I have taken over a lot of her care. She is still very able, thankfully, but it is a slippery slope, as we all well know.

Today she can do things. Tomorrow she may not. It can happen that fast. She can walk, feed and dress. She can't talk very well and doesn't remember a lot of things. She can still make her grits.

All that I am to mom

I am a personal shopper and chef, maid, and laundress. I mop dust (a little behind in that) and clean her room and her laundry. She folds. I make her bed.

I am an alarm clock, calendar, digital assistant, and personal assistant. I make all her appointments. I make sure she's up and goes to bed. I take care of her phone, email, and iPad, and find things for her on those devices.

I am a tv remote, or at least the chief operator of one, and a TV guide, and audio translator/subtitler. I find what she wants to watch, which channels, tune it in or set the record, and explain what's happening.

I am a pharmacist, nurse, and diagnostician. I get her pills, fill her pillbox, and set reminders - which are mostly for me, now. If there is a change, I try to note it and figure out if it's something that I can take care of or does she need a doctor, so triage "nurse."

Interpreter, not just for TV, but at all her appointments. I have to explain to the medical professional what is going on and explain it to my mother. I am trilingual. I speak English, "mom," and "southern."

I am a chauffeur. Mom doesn't drive. We didn't really need a discussion about it, thankfully. We moved, and she didn't know where anything was. And with the pandemic, she stayed home most of the time anyway. We all did.

I am a secretary. I make appointments and take calls and manage her schedule. I am a financier. I manage her checkbook, finances, and keep in contact with her financial advisors.

I am her atlas. I show her where things are on the map so she does know where she is and where we're going. My brother lives in St. Louis. He is not a Chiefs fan. They are nowhere near where he lives, even if it's in the same state. See?

I am her fitness instructor. I try to get her moving, getting steps and doing squats. She needs to build up some strength in her legs, so she doesn't miss that step up and fall again. Lift that leg! Sit on the couch, now stand up and sit again. No special equipment is needed. Do some laps around the kitchen island.

What do caregivers do?

Caregivers do a lot! I'm going to be anticlimactic here and not even speculate on how much this would all cost if other people were hired to do it. A new iPhone would be cheaper and lighter for sure! We don't have home health care, yet. I won't feel bad at all when we do! I am already saving us a boatload! What is our value as caregivers? Priceless!

This list is not exhaustive. What else do we do? How would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below, or share your story with the community.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AlzheimersDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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