The turkey is put away, families have traveled back home to prepare for work, and seasonal decor is brought out to welcome the end-of-year celebrations. Some people take a few days or a few months during the holiday season to take a break from life — work, to-do lists, meetings — but there are some people who never take a day off, or even a few hours.
As National Family Caregivers Month comes to an end this November, we want to take the time to recognize caregivers for all the work they do 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Here are the stories of a few family caregivers who despite the numerous adversities they are faced with on a daily basis — low pay, minimal benefits, sleepless nights — they fight on to protect their loved ones and the work they do every day of the year.
“Everyone turned their backs on my daughter when she was diagnosed as mentally disabled except for me — her mother.”
Before learning about programs like In-Home Supportive Services, Stella struggled daily to make ends meet as a single mom as she relied on only disability pay to survive and care for her daughter who is moderately mentally disabled and wheelchair bound.
Robert is the sole-income earner in his home as his wife is disabled and his son can’t work.
He is a full-time caregiver to his 12-year-old son who is autistic and needs helps with the most basic necessities that people too often taken for granted, such as: feeding, bathing, and grooming.
The day before his 2nd birthday, Marguerite was told her grandson would not survive.
His father had badly physically abused him, leaving him disabled and unable to fend for himself. However, Marguerite refused to give up.
Today, he’s 30-years-old, alive and healthy thanks to the 24-hour care of his grandmother.
Barbara’s son is 36-years-old but functions at a pre-K level.
He has down syndrome and has never spent a day without his mom. Whether at the dinner table feeding him his food, administering his medication, or cheering him on at his Special Olympics basketball games — she is always at his side.
Patricia Ornelas was once a teacher and left her career to provide care to her 28-year-old son who has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour-care.
Her son requires two tubes to survive: one to help him breathe, the other to clear his throat from phlegm build up.
When asked why she chose to leave her job to care for him full-time she says, “I’m his mom. And I know that no one can provide him the kind of round-the-clock care he needs but me.”
Robert Bolts used to work at a refinery making $1500 a week until his son was born and doctors told him he wasn’t going to make it due to birth complications — he was born with paralysis on one side of his body.
Robert left his job to care for his son full-time and provide life-saving daily tasks, such as: cleaning out his breathing tube, changing the braces for his legs, arms and feet, and providing him the nourishment he needs through his feeding tube.
Caregivers leave their careers, move homes, and make life-changing decisions everyday just to make sure they can provide care for some of our most vulnerable populations.
For that, and much more, our hats go off to caregivers! Thank you for all you do!