The Twilight Years- Jonathan's Story
By Nat Power
Helping is addictive, as Jonathan himself discovered while in early retirement from the automotive industry. His wife was working as a caregiver at a home care provider and her boss offered Jonathan the same opportunity starting with taking elderly citizens to their medical appointments, amongst other simple tasks. It wasn’t long before he progressed to all the tasks of a caregiver, especially personal care. Now almost a decade later, Jonathan has written a book based on his experiences of working in home care and the stories he felt needed greater air time, wisdom passed and wisdom shared.
Home care is an opportunity for an able bodied workforce to assist in the well being of the elderly and disabled. The added bonus is that both parties can be great company too which can help combat the crisis of loneliness, which has devastating and deadly health effects.
The ideal scenario is that you stay in your own home until death; 1) because there are simply not enough nursing home beds for elderly citizens and 2) staying in your own home has myriad benefits including comfort, familiarity and neighbours. Home care works on the premise that an elderly person receives help and company either from family members, neighbours or a paid home care worker. This is where Jonathan excels, he insists that his adult life experience and years of work as a caregiver provides him with just the right balance of responsibility and compassion. He has regular clients that he attends weekly, he is flourishing in his second career and what started as a casual caregiving role has become a very satisfying profession for him.
Jonathan offers some much needed perspective in his book on what life is like as an elderly or disabled citizen. Imagine the fingers in your hands don’t bend due to chronic arthritis. How do you turn the tap on in the shower? Water the plants? Hold a saucepan? Sweep? It is so easy to comprehend how things at home can become so out of control, quickly, with minor disabilities in form or function of the human body. Jonathan can cook meals, help domestically around the house but also, give people a sense of pride in their appearance. Some of the physical ailments are also coupled with body or mental trauma from time spent at war or relationship breakdowns, this is where home care is about listening. Home care is the glue holding the community together, making sure that older people are not forgotten or invisible.
Home caregivers who work with compassion, skill and patience are giving elderly and disabled lives positive meaning, the rest of the community becomes the winner when we respect and embrace the needs of our elderly and disabled citizens. The more time Jonathan spends with his clients the more he appreciates the value of aged and disabled people in our community. For individual accounts of Jonathan’s home care experience, check out his book here.
We believe in the power of stories to illuminate and educate. Through sharing our experiences of getting older and caring for those around us, we can help each other navigate the challenges we will all face at some stage in our lives.
If you would like to share your story, email us. We have a team of talented writers who would love to talk to you and help bring your story to life.