The Fallacy Of The Caretaker
22nd March 2022
There is a pattern that I’ve picked up on after numerous conversations with those who live away from their elderly parents: a majority of them have simply employed caretakers to look after the parents in their old age. While there seems to be a justification in doing so, I also believe that there are certain misunderstandings and hints of oblivion that revolves around this mindset that should be addressed.
Taking care of elderly parents is a lot like taking care of newborn babies. They require patience and empathy. Those who look after them must come from professional, trustworthy backgrounds, with the correct supervision as a precautionary measure so that no abuse or exploitation comes to life. But the unfortunate truth is that a majority of the caregivers that have been hired are the opposite of these ideal conditions. They come from villages with the solitary motive of earning a little extra money. They lack passion for the cause. They lack affiliations with organizations who can ensure the level of quality and care that is expected with such a task. And all of these factors combined can often lead to the biggest crime of all: elder abuse.
Be it physical, emotional, or financial, some caretakers have mastered the art of manipulating the vulnerable for their personal gain. I, personally, have heard of numerous cases of such elder abuse; horror stories of caretakers blackmailing families into writing property to their name, or leaving bed-ridden elders alone in the house for hours while off for a personal agenda. This situation only worsens when the children are in the dark about what is going on at home. Often, they rely heavily on their employed caretakers and talk to them more than their parents. And, when there is an opportunity to talk to the children, they often shy away and keep the abuse to themselves, in fear of potential repercussions that they could face for
If you wouldn’t trust your child with someone with these qualities, why would you do so with your parents?
Moreover, the care that elders require includes more than the basic services a caretaker can provide. Many seniors, especially those suffering from chronic care, require around-the-clock care. This is too big a responsibility for one single person to take upon themselves. Fatigue and frustration often set in, leading to the aforementioned concerns. While caretakers can look after their bathing, feeding, and cleaning, these aren’t the only considerations to bear in mind. Elders require routine assistance for their health check-ups and administrative work, home maintenance, and other daily errands. Most importantly, they not only require, but deserve, companionship in their old age. For example, a retired math professor might want to have an intellectual conversation with someone, but a caretaker is not the correct person for the job. These factors are often ignored when their caretakers realize they cannot go to such lengths by themselves. This support is most likely to come from establishments that are coming up and blooming, ready to tackle this problem with the best solutions and tie-ups in place. Furthermore, they can conduct routine audits and surprise visits to ensure everything is as should be.
The help that caretakers provide is indisputably important, but they are just a cog in the wheel; the comfort of our elderly loved ones must rely on a bigger team and a more stable and secure infrastructure. Additional advantages that come along with a path like this are the quality checks and levels of integrity that come with it. Make sure that your parents live out their old age with ease, and you can live contently knowing that you have done everything possible to make sure of this.