Caretake?…Caregive?…What’s the Diff???

What’s the common denominator? The word “Care”

No matter how you slice it, a caregiver/caretaker is a person who cares… for another.

Many of us have been mothers, probably since our 20’s. Some of us became single parents (through death of spouse or divorce), meaning we absorbed most and, in some cases, all parental responsibilities. Some of us single-parented more than once.

In our 40’s and 50’s, many of us (mostly women) became caregivers for aging parents. We oversaw their attempts to stay in their own homes and repaired what was accidentally destroyed in the process. We instituted Medic Alerts, even when that plan was no longer feasible (it demands mental alertness to system dictates.) We became wardens, imposing rules on our parents, taking away car keys, overseeing their finances, for they’d lost the capacity to do so.

When such measures failed, we then determined what residential facility was something we—and they—could live with.

During all that time, some of us were called the “Sandwich Generation,” where (mostly) women end up doing double duty, caring for aging parents, as well as their own children, while balancing the demands of full time careers.

We were heralded for our attention to all, tho’ the cost to us was mighty.

We bent under the pressure, buckling often, failing to do all gracefully. No matter—we soldiered on.

Now, in our later years, 70’s…80’s, many of us care for partners/spouses who’ve succumbed to illnesses characterized by cognitive disability, addressed in books with titles like “The 36 Hour Day,” ”The Long Goodbye,” “Surviving Dementia.”

None suggest pleasant days, where older folks reminisce over life’s important moments.

Yes, caretake or caregive? No matter–It’s still caring.

And some of us have been doing it for a lifetime.