My fiancé of 11 years was injured while we were vacationing in Cuba in 2016. Were about to mark the calendars for his 8th “injuryaversary”.
You know, each year when Caregiver Awareness Month comes around, I’m hesitant to speak up in that seeing oneself as a caregiver is deeply encompassed by stigma.
It means a lot of different things to different people, particularly the government. According to the AARP, report estimates that family caregivers provided 36 billion hours of unpaid care worth $600 billion in 2021 alone. Only 8/50 states recognize and compensate caregivers in the US and in Canada, various provinces are peppered with “caregiver benefits programs”. But, wait..if your paycheque is above poverty line, those programs will too, be taken from you.
A quick google search for caregiver support will direct you to “caring for seniors or children”, leaving a large population of spousal caregivers, unseen, because it’s your marital duty.
It’s no wonder many caregivers live in the shadows, filling in the pieces of a very broken system.
Our 1.5 hours of HomeCare through Vancouver coastal health falls through weekly. No phone call, no warning, they simply just don’t show up.
This year alone, we’ve canceled more social/ family events due to new ailments popping up for Dan. The SCI body is one of mystery. So much so, that more physicians can’t pin points the issues.
It feels like wheelchair repairs and maintenance has also become a weekly occurrence. We’ve lost count at the number of flat tires, alone. Each time paying out of pocket.
The inconsistency, unreliability and lack of support all around becomes unbearable. The exhaustion, sleepless night and always being, “ON”, leads to high stress levels and we all know that stress is the leading causes of disease.
I read a recent stat; long term caregivers have a shorter life expectancy.
No, not really.
They are the unsung heroes, making the world a better place. Upholding more than just the people they are caring for. Upholding the very fabric of our society, their households & healthcare system.
This Giving Tuesday please consider sending your donation to the WAGs of SCI Self Care Fund or Date Night Fund and watch every cent will go directly to the women who need it.