I recently heard a speaker compare Redwood roots to caregiving. Having been to San Francisco and seen California Redwoods, the comparison impacted me. I have shared that speaker’s piece on social media. But in reflection I wanted to share insight based on my first foray into truck gardening. We were young parents, financially strapped, wanting to get our hands in the dirt. So we got the landlord’s permission and began a small garden. In that well-marked patch we planted all sorts of vegetables and one row of corn. It was as others’ were harvesting their corn, that we realized something was amiss. We had healthy stalks, but no corn. In sharing this with our retired landlord, he told us about the birds and the bees. We proceeded to have two more children, so his sharing was very helpful:).
But corn needs to be planted in a patch in order for the breeze, the bees, the whatever to cross-pollinate which results in corn on the cob. One row will not be able to produce corn.
Caregiving for a loved one with dementia can be done alone. But it cannot be done as productively, with as much joy, with as little stress as it can be done with others. As I prepare for the Maximizing Energy caregiver support group at Arden Courts, study after study after study shows—-social support, and social network and education are vital to a caregiver’s sense of mastery, self-efficacy, and mental health.
Yes, you can be the lone row of corn, you will make a nice shuck stack for Halloween . . . but you will be missing the corn on the cob with butter.