Friday, August 3, 2007

What is my occupation?

There was a post recently on the Alzheimer's forum entitled The Top Ten Things Caregivers Do Not Want to Hear

I have one to add it: What is your occupation?

I haven't known how to answer this question now for a long time. It always flusters me some as I struggle to arrive at an answer. I know what they want. They want to know what I do to earn money.

But I don't earn any money. But if I answer that way then they either assume I am retired or disabled. They might think I am independently wealthy except I don't really look independently wealthy I guess. I never really want to say that I live on the magnanimity of my father.

If I do say I am a caregiver I usually modify it to be "family caregiver" so as to distinguish between paid caregivers. I definitely support the idea of increasing the professionalism and career opportunities for paid caregivers. They, after all, do get paid and need and deserve every dime.

Now that I think about it I could add another question, too: Do you own or rent?

I don't own nor do I rent. Then someone says "Well, where do you live?" to which I answer "With my father in his home."

Having neither job nor home makes it hard to get credit, too. And it is not beneficial to one's social security benefits either.

There are benefits. You don't really need credit since you don't buy anything. You don't owe a lot of tax when you have no income. I don't drive many miles and the price of gas doesn't bother me. I noticed today in the last 3 years I have managed to put 18,000 miles on my car. That's because I was married in 2004. From 1998 to 2004 I drove about 12,000 miles.

Also, I do not need a very large investment in wardrobe. Entertainment is pretty inexpensive.


~Betsy said...

I find that most people don't really understand what it is we do. But we know and our LO's do - even if they can't always express their thanks, I know they appreciate us.

nancy said...

very interesting post. not too far in the future i anticipate that i will be a full time caregiver vs. working part-time as well. i will think about how i will answer questions like that as well. i especially loved your last 2 sentences. it made me smile. i don't think i've bought a piece of clothing in the last year!

Lori1955 said...

I know what you mean. It is even harder to explain when you are not related to the person you care for. People really don't get that one.

~Betsy said...

I understand what you're saying, Lori. I cared for a friend with end stage cancer and I always got "are you her sister or something?"

Nope - not her sister or something. Just the only one who would step up to the plate.