Monday, May 12, 2008

What If You Threw a Fair and Nobody Came?

A caregiving fair...hmmm...there's an oxymoron, i'n't it?

I spent much of Saturday -- a lovely spring day filled with flowering crabapples and green grass and blue skies -- at a regional fair intended for persons who care for their elder loved ones.

Unsurprisingly, no one showed up. Well -- maybe 30 people, not counting the organizers and vendors, showed up.

So we insiders spent our time schmoozing with one another, swapping promotional freebies and staring down the hallway waiting for crowds of caregivers seeking our counsel to appear.

I attended the keynote speech, which was about caring for parents with dementia. At the end of it, I felt like throwing myself into moving traffic -- and both my parents are dead. I also heard that 1 out of 8 adults are destined to develop dementia in their old age...which was interesting, considering that the vendor sitting directly in front of me had a display pointing out that the vast majority of adults 75 or over experience no significant cognitive impairment, and that keeping one's mind and body active are added protections for one's cognitive ability. Well, which is it? (And where is that laptop mahjong game when you really need it?)

By lunchtime I'd had about enough, so I took a dandelion break wandering around the general neighborhood of the venue. When I got back -- quelle surprise -- still no caregivers breaking down the doors to hear about how their life sucks, and how their loved ones' lives suck, and here's a complimentary chocolate bar and ink pen and five pounds of depressing literature to take home to further ponder the suckiness of you and your loved one's miserable lives.

Note: Keep in mind that these were my impressions after my daily dose of Lexapro.

There are days when a subsistence existence selling T-shirts and cottage caretaking up in the Leelanau starts looking really good. This day was one of them.


david said...

I put together a one day seminar on the same topic last spring. I had folks from several agencies on hand, and we had plenty of speakers lined up. Same result as you. Still, the few people who did wander in got their questions answered, so in those regards I guess it was useful.

chartreuseova said...

Sadly, many caretakers are so busy & exhausted with the caretaking (often of their parents & children simultaneously) that they can't/won't take the time to attend this kind of event even tho they could find out about valuable resources to help them out.

Trish said...

*sigh* after a long weekend with my own mother who suffers from dementia, I could use the chocolate. Anesthesia + dementia patients=Bad Results. :(

Sorry to hear people didn't come in droves to your function. That sort of thing could help the people feel LESS overwhelmed, and yet, like chartreuse said, they're often too busy to do that sort of thing. Vicious cycle, I reckon.