Looking Out for Eachother

My caretaker story ? hope you all enjoy and continue to shareHello, my name is Maxx! I am a caretaker, alongside my father, for my Uncle. He is a mentally handicapped elderly man (68 years old) who has suffered from brain damage since his 20s, and Huntington’s Disease for quite some time now. Throughout his life, he has jumped from family member to family member in need of guidance, support, and assistance. When he could not stay with family, he would sleep on the streets or in his run-down car. He has lived a life void of personal connection, compassion, and correct treatment. However, that started to change when I suggested to my father that we invite him to live with us (about 14 years ago). At that time, I was still very young and not so sure what everything really meant, all I knew is that he needed help and that we could help him. Over the years, I relentlessly tried to integrate him further and further as an active member of our family; however, he would not budge. It took me a long time to realize what he goes through on a daily basis and how his mind works differently from ours. He was always very reclusive, introverted, and hermit-like. He could not carry a personal conversation, could not look you in the eye, and could absolutely never be in a room where normal socializing was going on. Although my father would be considered his main caregiver, (as he is his financial and stable support system), over the years I have acted as his personal caregiver and eventually his first real best friend. When I first started to take on the roll, it was hard for me to adjust to his extreme introversion, habits, and way of life; however, I found that with persistence, personal connection, positive support, and love he began to improve. Although my uncle continues to age and deteriorate, I have seen him go through an incredible transformation on a personal and loving way. Now able to give hugs on occasion (could not before), he now has additional hobbies and interests (very introverted and solitary before), now able to socialize better (extreme recluse before). It is not the ‘thank you’s or the acknowledgment that makes me happy with what we have accomplished together, it is watching another human being go from feeling hopeless and depressed to a bright and shining new person. Listening to my Uncle socialize with big groups of my friends and offer to give everybody in the room a hug is everything to me. Listening to him tell me stories of his young childhood with a smile makes my day every time. Although there will always be some things still that I do not know how to address or handle (i.e. irrational rants of anger and name-calling and confusion), I stay positive and calm with him to let him know he’s not alone, he is loved, and he is supported. Not all situations are easy to deal with, nor do they all have solutions, but we are all human and need to remember how important our time here is. We must make the most of it, we must work our hardest, and we MUST look out for each other.

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