Contributed By:


Deb Kallen

How People Face The Challenges Of Caregiving

OPB | May 14, 2014 12:10 p.m. | Updated: May 14, 2014 1:51 p.m.

Photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

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Earlier this year, we talked with author Ariel Gore, about her new memoir, The End of Eve. The story centered around her experience taking care of her mother in the last years of her mother’s life. Gore’s story is insightful and often funny, but at its core it also reveals the heavy burden of caring for a family member. She told us she’d been hearing at readings from caregivers or former caregivers who thanked her for reflecting their own experiences. She speculated about why so many people related to her personal story.

It’s so hard to find frank discussions about what it’s like to be a caregiver. I think a lot of people are the same as me, they don’t have time to write about it as it’s happening. And then after the fact, you kind of clean it up, or it’s so frowned upon to talk badly about the dead. So you know, it’s like, once my mom was dead, I think the cultural norm would be, you know, forget about it, she was beautiful, let’s put a picture of her on the wall and move on. So, I think there are a lot of silences around the ugliness of caregiving and you know, hopefully the book isn’t just the ugliness but the humor too, and the complexity of it.

We’re opening up our phone lines and our doors for a broader conversation about the experience of caregiving — both the challenges and the rewards. We’ll have guests like Sylvia Eagan, who’s been caring for her husband Michael with cerebral palsy (CP) in Portland. He has always had CP, but developed an arthritic hip that has put him in a wheel chair for the last eight years. Eagan is involved in her church and a support group, but for all the challenges, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way:

Life is filled with choices and whatever comes your way, you deal with it. I wouldn’t trade places with anybody.

Do you have experience caring for someone you love?

Please post your experience in our comments section below and if you can, plan on joining us in person at OPB at 11:30 for the live show at noon Wednesday. Tickets are free but limited, and preregistration is required:

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