Eleanor Gaccetta, author of the caregiving memoir One Caregiver’s Journey (BookBaby; 2019), guests on People of Distinction, hosted by Al Cole from CBS Radio.
The author and her host engaged in a conversation in which the author talked about her book, her caregiving journey, and the joys and challenges of caring full-time for a loved one, among other topics.
Her journey to becoming a caregiver… and author
The interview began with the author sharing how her caregiving journey started. Her mother fell and broke her hip at the age of 93 when they were at her brother’s home for dinner. Eleanor gave up her full-time employment shortly thereafter to provide full-time care for her mother, who would live until the age of 102.
The experience would later provide her with the inspiration to write One Caregiver’s Journey. “During my nine and a half years where I was the sole caregiver and she lived with me in my home, I began a journal of my daily occurrences. I began to wonder if my experiences would help somebody else in their challenges and changes as a caregiver. That’s kind of how I got to a book.”
A must-read, One Caregiver’s Journey is written for anyone who provides elder or senior care or thinks of becoming an in-home caregiver to a loved one. “The book has been called a treasure trove of suggestions and information that could lighten the burdens of a caregiver,” said Eleanor. “There are many similar situations in caregiving but my book reflects on nine and a half years and my book is chronological. It really provides a snapshot of the reality of the stages, changes, and challenges I faced over the years in which I think every other people will face.
Challenges in transition
Eleanor acknowledged that the transition into caregiving comes with a ton of challenges. She said, “When you become a caregiver, you actually cease being an adult or child and you become the parent. The transition into caregiving can be the lightning speed with unforeseen accidents or illnesses in my case. Otherwise, caregiving transition involves a long, long period of time due to age and age-related issues.
“Caregiving, in another sense, can be an exhaustive experience because it requires that you give your full attention to the job at hand as good or as bad as the day maybe. I refer to it as finding balances, a relative term in caregiving and it’s somewhere in between rest and exasperating stress, and it looks different in everybody’s lives.”
Eleanor’s motto: Faith, humor, and love
“Faith, humor, and love should be the cornerstones of our lives,” Eleanor told Al Cole when asked to relate the motto to her caregiving journey. “I use the word ‘faith’ not so much in the sense of religion but in maintaining a positive attitude that as a caregiver, you’re doing the best possible job you can to make your loved one’s life safe and comfortable. Humor is the thing that keeps your sanity intact because likely something will occur every day that will make you smile and in the end, you’re just thankful you can find something to smile about and there are some days that it will be tough to find something to smile but you just shake your head and go ‘wow.’
“Finally, love is important because it’s the main component in caregiving. You shouldn’t be in the situation if you don’t love the person that you’re caring for. While I didn’t have a lot of physical help from family members, I really received a lot of boatloads of love, encouragement, and support for what I was doing.
“If your life is grounded in faith, humor, and love, you’ll always have that positive note to fall back in on those exhaustive and stressful days.
To purchase One Caregiver’s Journey or know more about Eleanor Gaccetta, make sure to visit her website https://www.onecaregiversjourney.com/