Caregiving is on the rise in America. We’d like to share inspirational stories honoring just a few of the remarkable people who put their lives on hold everyday to care for elderly, ill family members. We hope their stories inspire you as they’ve inspired us.
Charles Gray, 88, is a caregiver for his wife Grace, who has dementia. Charles is an accomplished artist who has given up his craft to provide 100 percent daily care for his wife. “I do it out of love, because we’ve been married for 67 years. It’s what I want to do,” says Charles. “She said today, ‘Where is my husband?’ so I sat down and put my arm around her and tried to explain that he’s right here and he’s been here for years. My life turned out to be a caregiver, but I’m not a remarkable person. I’m just a person who does it, that’s all.”
Larry Bocchiere, 63, was a full-time caregiver for his wife Deborah, who died of emphysema in 2013. “Spousal caregivers lose a lot. They lose their best friend, their lover, half of the team that raises the kids and keeps up the house income,” says Larry. “When we first got the diagnosis, it was real tough. But you learn to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. I look back now, and say, ‘How did I ever do it?’ I don’t know. You do what you have to do, especially when you’re dedicated to someone. I don’t say that caregivers are superheroes, but they go above and beyond what normal people do.”
Larry learned that taking care of himself was vital when he was caring for his wife 24 hours a day, every day. “I’ve learned that I’m human. You need to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of someone else and maintain a life. You can’t be involved in only caregiving or when the caregiving ends, you’ll be in a lot of trouble. Reach out and get a support group. Nobody can do it alone.”
Bonnie Little, 60, is a caregiver for her husband Harry, who has Parkinson’s disease. Bonnie was a licensed real estate broker who left her job to care for her husband full-time. “We’ve been married 30 years. He’s a Vietnam vet so he has health conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. It started a few years back when his driving wasn’t right. That’s when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Now I do all the work he used to do and take a care of him too. But you deal with what you have in front of you and you make the best of everyday. I’m still happy to just have him.”
Read more about remarkable caregivers here.
Reprinted with permission from Passare.com.