Cathy Sikorski has been a significant caregiver for the last 25 years for seven different family members and friends. A published humorist, Sikorski is also a practicing attorney who specializes in Elder Law. . Her latest endeavor is her humorous memoir Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (killer) Caregiver (HumorOutcasts Press 2015).
Where and when do you feel most competent? When I’m dealing with admin people…hospitals, doctors, nurses, nursing homes. I have done it so often, I feel very certain of my point of view.
With what do you struggle? Sometimes I’m not as nice to my caregivees as I think I should be. I lose patience and tolerance and feel very badly about that.
What one thing do you wish you had more time for? Rest and creativity. Just time to myself without guilt.
With what do you wish you had more help? Visiting. I wish more old friends and family would take the burden off by taking time to just visit and sit with my caregivees so I could take care of business.
Where do you find support? There are certain family members who I can call on for help always. And my husband is a rock if I ever need him.
What is your best habit? My best habit is staying on top of things to keep meds, medical advice and physical appointments a priority.
If you knew then, what you know now… Hmmm. I’m glad I didn’t; I might not have taken on the job. Ignorance was really bliss.
What is your dream retirement? To be free on a beach somewhere.
What would you like to see employers do more of to help caregivers? It would be great to give employees flex time and the ability to work at home. It would be nice if they would trust employees to do their jobs even if they are not face-to-face at work.
What would you like to see medical professionals do more of to support caregivers? For one thing, it would be nice if they would use their experience to tell the caregiver what to truly expect. For another, it would be nice if they would really look at the situation. For example, my brother-in-law was wheelchair bound. No medical office ever thought to see if they had a room where he could be seen. And it was chronic, even after he’d been there many times. They would schedule appointments like he could walk there, without any concern as to even HOW he would get there or if these appointments were necessary; he had to pay hundreds of dollars for transportation out of his own pocket if it was not an emergency.
Who are your heroines? My mom, who at 87 has been my right hand in everything to care for other family members. And all those behind the scenes mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts who have thanklessly taken on caregiving. The percentage of women caregivers far outranks men and our sacrifices will deplete our savings, our ability to collect retirement and big Social Security checks, or even our own disability, and yet out of love, we do it anyway.
What do you admire in/about other caregivers? They are humble and kind, even at the hardest of times.
What is your motto? You just have to Laugh…………… (and it’s my blog about the comedy of caregiving.)
What is your superpower? Humor in all things…………..
Caregiving: a blessing or a burden? For sure a burden, but the moment comes when you realize it has always been a blessing, it was just hard to find some of the time. It is an honor to be trusted as a caregiver. It is a gift to know what to do. We are special people and I am proud to be in the sisterhood.