“The pandemic is taking a toll on caregivers” – Jocelyn Théorêt

“The pandemic is taking a toll on caregivers” – Jocelyn Théorêt

Since the start of the pandemic, many people have asked me how I’ve been coping with the lockdown. My first instinct is always to say that it hasn’t made much difference to me, since I’m always at home helping Chantal. I only go out briefly to run important errands that I can’t take care of on my respite days. But come to think of it… respite days?

When was the last time I had a “real” respite day?

You know—those days when you can really shed your responsibilities as a caregiver, that role that monopolizes your life 24/7 taking care of your loved one. Those days when you try to leave your everyday worries behind, focus on yourself, and try to clear your head. Those days when I used to hit the open road on my motorcycle to visit friends and cousins who live in the country. Those days when I could linger over a hearty restaurant breakfast with my newspaper without being interrupted by a call for help from my sweetheart. Those rainy days when I could stroll through the shops, running my weekly errands, then catch a movie at the end of the day. Those days when I could enjoy dinner at a good restaurant before heading home to step back into my role as caregiver—a role dictated by the disease (ALS), turning us into caregivers dedicated body and soul to keeping our loved one safe and happy, sometimes even at the expense of our own health.

So, come to think of it, yes, the pandemic and the lockdown have been hard for me. I can’t tell you how much I miss spending time with friends and getting together for suppers. I miss hugs and kisses and the warmth of another human being. It’s not easy to recharge your batteries when everything is shut down and contact with people outside your bubble is risky. We don’t have the option of exposing our loved ones to COVID, because it would actually kill them. I can confirm that the pandemic is taking a toll on caregivers. Yes, it’s hard on us, even though we don’t always let it show. We need to keep morale up despite the current conditions. This is only temporary. As they say, the sun always shines after the rain! And that’s why it’s so important for the people who read this text—and their friends and family—to follow instructions so we can keep our vulnerable loved ones safe from harm.

Big hugs to you all!”

 

Jocelyn Théorêt
Caregiver to Chantal Lanthier, living with ALS since 2013

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About the ALS Society of Quebec

Whether it is attentive listening, online resources, virtual support groups and conferences, or a financial boost for the most vulnerable families, the ALS Society of Quebec provides diversified and personalized services to support all families touched by ALS across the province to maintain the best possible quality of life, despite the upheavals that such a diagnosis can cause in their daily lives.

Fanny Demers