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The life of a caregiver, helped by respite! – The Weekly Journal

A text written by Michelle Daviault, assistant coordinator of the Regroupement des aidants naturally de la Mauricie

I am Gabrielle and I became a caregiver overnight by choice. I took a sabbatical year to take care of my father who is losing his autonomy. My days are more difficult than I thought they would be. I am tired and my father is cranky and negative. He often reproaches me. I in turn become less tolerant and feel so guilty afterwards.

Like this morning, I helped my dad sit at the end of the table. I made him his breakfast and he was quick to criticize it. Later in the day I was making his bed, as he had escaped again overnight despite telling him not to hesitate to wake me up when he needs to go to the bathroom. He often says to me: “I’m so afraid of being a burden”. Phew!

About a month ago, while I was waiting for dad in a park during his appointment with his doctor, I met by happy coincidence my former neighbor Geneviève. She works in the field of home support service. After telling her about my situation, she gave me little tips to improve communication between my father and me. Geneviève also offered me an afternoon of respite to shop, during which she would take the opportunity to chat with my father and familiarize him with the services, he who refuses any outside help. A week later, she met my dad to chat privately with him in his living room. Geneviève told me that at first my father was reluctant, but once he had named how he had been feeling since he was sick, his eyes lit up.

From now on, at lunch we both talk for a long time. Barely smiling before this meeting, I have regained almost all my patience since. I am happy that my father has finally accepted a companion whom he appreciates. We have a few small “relapses”, but I think it’s normal. Very happy to have taken the step to ask for help from the Regroupement des aidants naturally de la Mauricie (RDANM) for respite as well as for training. I invite you to watch the videos on the RDANM website (, including the capsule Maltraitance par negligence produced in partnership with the Table Action Abus seniors Mauricie inc. which presents my story. I am very grateful for all the help that the Regroupement des aidants naturally de la Mauricie has given me.

Regroupement des aidants naturels de la Mauricie

Phone: 819 693-6072

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Email: [email protected]

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Column funded by: l’Appui Mauricie, Caregivers and INFO-AIDANT 1 855 852-7784 /