If you’ve been tracking my stalwart-cousin experiences, then you’ll know the nightmare it was for both of us to see him spend almost 72 hours inside a supposedly leading-edge Ontario hospital. You’ve borne witness to my honest sharing about verbal abuses I faced from irate and frustrated employees within said system.
Next, I am about to become very “un-Canadian”. The world over, we’re known to be unfailingly polite and purely nice. Those qualities make us popular tourists. Looked at another way, they equate to being namby-pamby concerning behaviors others would find frankly objectionable.
You’ve Heard of Elder Abuse
We all know elder abuse is a real issue likely to grow worse as ridiculously-stretched family members carry undue burdens – for years or decades – regarding challenging aging parents. Unremitting as the caregiving marathon is, these pressures show up as financial, physical, emotional and other forms of torture. No matter how horrid your folks’ behaviors might be, I cannot condone these actions. You need help.
You May Have Heard of Caregiver Stress Syndrome
Let’s turn next to Wikipedia. They define this syndrome as “a condition of exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring” – whether for a chronically ill dependent, aging relative or even a young person. Either way, the damaging health effects alone show up as long-term conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. At its worst, caregivers have a 63% higher death rate than peers who don’t carry such responsibilities.
Who Dares to Talk About Caregiver Abuse?
So, what about YOUR rights as caregiver? Do you have any? You bet! Who talks about them? Pretty much no one! Sure, you receive a nod here and there to attend to your self-care. That’s standard “stuff”. What we’re calling out here is downright abuse of the sort that characterized my cousin’s hospital stay. There’s NO excuse in my books for such mean-spiritedness any more than there is for elder abuse. (For the record, he got a dose of both.)
A Reality Check Is In Order
Again, I fully realize how crushing are team members’ daily loads within Canada’s myriad broken healthcare systems. Everyone suffers as a result of the disrepair.
You won’t have to go far to locate articles where I laud the super-human efforts dedicated professionals put forth. You’ll also find profound kudos for the Doctor Angel who attended my father for much of his last five weeks of life in my book, Coping with Un-cope-able Systems: ADVOCACY for Eldercare available at www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com.
However, Canadians REALLY need to find a voice to defend OUR rights in the face of impossible institutions and bureaucracies. Stay tuned for a series of action calls to stand up and rise up!