I think my whole life has prepared me for the role of caregiver. I never put a title to it, but life in retirement, life in the senior years, life in the “off ramp” is primarily concerned with the the care of others.
And thank heaven, because we need a purpose in life at any age and especially as seniors when our work building a family and/or a career has been completed. Now as seniors, we can devote ourselves a little or a lot to the welfare of those around us.
Those around us may be friends of many years or family members who only need us at times of illness or accidents. Seniors like me who have been blessed with long life and much good fortune can reach out to call on shut-in friends. I can reply when medical care requires the support of a family member if a serious illness like schizophrenia rears its ugly head.
Family members who suffer a serious mental illness will not likely be part of holiday celebrations outside their comfort zone or be comfortable inviting family members in to share the season.
The symptoms of schizophrenia make it difficult for patients to interact with others, so they withdraw from everyday activities and the outside world.
I have seen my daughter frightened, anxious, confused, disorganized and scared. Consequently, the people around her are scared, too. I know from experience parents are often the most scared of all.
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