1. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    When people are bereaved/ ill/disabled/ex-carers etc. they always seem to be told to do voluntary work and look after others. No-one seems to say that to healthy people when their families are all OK and don't need caring because they are "busy getting on with their own lives".

    The fact that I wanted to look after my mother doesn't mean I want to look after anyone else. I don't even want to see any other elderly people nowadays because why are they still there when mine have gone? I don't want to visit my mother's older sisters, who obviously think I'm conveniently "available" now. Perhaps I'd care a bit more about them now if they'd cared anything about me before they got old and ill. Well, it'd be easier to look after strangers than relations of whom I have too many bad memories.

    Lila
     
  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Lila

    I can understand how you feel.

    On the one hand, it's a compliment, that peole know how well you looked after your mum. But you're quite right, that doesn't have to mean you want to carry on doing it, and particularly for relatives who offered you no support in the past.

    There's also the point that although voluntary caring is very worthwhile, and there is a huge need for it, it may not be appropriate for everyone. There may be the need to earn some money, or the need for the self-esteem of being valued in a paid job. (Not being personal, Lila, I don't know your circumstances).

    The thing is, Lila, you don't owe anyone anything. Do whatever you feel comfortable with -- or nothing, if that's what you want to do.

    Look after yourself.

    Love,
     
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,657
    Kent
    Hi Lila, there are lots of healthy people with healthy families who still find time to do voluntary work, because that is what they believe in.

    I think voluntary work is reccommended for those who don`t know how to fill the gaps left by those who have died. It`s definitely not the answer for everyone, but it is the answer for many, several of whom are known to me personally.

    It`s up to the individual. It takes all sorts to make a world and certainly wouldn`t do if we were all the same.

    Take care
     
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,418
    There's another problem with voluntary work: once you're known to be willing to do it, it can be extremely difficult to stop. It starts off small and then snowballs and it can be difficult to say "no". First its "can you bake a dozen cup cakes for a bake sale?" and the next thing you know you're making over a hundred pumpkin bread loaves for a fund-raiser (can you tell I'm speaking from bitter experience?) When my children were younger I used to do a lot of volunteer work at their schools, but if you're known to be helpful it can become all encompassing. When you find you're eating pizza all the time not from choice but because you haven't got time to cook, and when in your efforts to make your children's schools better you end up giving short shrift to your own children, you know you've tipped over the edge. At the end there I made a sign that I stuck above my phone saying "JUST SAY NO". I really only extricated myself from it when the children moved to different schools.

    Sorry, rant over.

    Jennifer
     
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Lila

    I agree absolutely.

    I'd go further and say that while one may be the best carer in the world for a particular person out of love [or need], that does not mean you are a 'born carer', neither does it mean that you ever wanted to do it in the first place, nor that you would ever wish to do so again.

    Some people ARE born carers; others are not. Thank goodness for the ones who are!
     
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,657
    Kent
    I wouldn`t say voluntary work only involves caring for the elderly or the sick. There`s so much more.

    Hospital Library, School Governors, CAB, WVS, Meals on Wheels. All about caring within the community, but not necessarily `Hands On` caring.
     
  7. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    At the moment I think I've done enough voluntary work, (I'm not talking about looking after my mother which was in a different category altogether), it is easy for it to turn into exploitation.

    Those aunts all have heaps of children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren etc. who no doubt are all "busy getting on with their own lives" ...
     
  8. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    As some people know, I did consider going to uni to take a degree in Social Work. I thought about becoming a Social Worker when I was in my twenties but somehow it just never happened - life and stuff got in the way! Had I done it when I was younger I would have probably been interested in working with children and families, and I get the impression that that is what most Social Workers do. However, this time around I would definitely have been interested in working with the elderly and I hope my experiences with my mum would have made me better at it. I certainly think I would have been more empathetic, but did worry that I might become too involved and not be able to keep a professional distance - that was actually one of the factors that deterred me.

    If I'm honest, I did also wonder about how I would feel if my mum died before I qualified. Given the fact that she is 86 and fragile and the course is 3 years long, that is a strong possibility. I thought that I might then feel that I never wanted to step foot in a nursing or care home again and then all that training would have been for nothing!

    My experiences with my mum have led to my choice of Open University degree however. The fact that my son has health problems also influenced that choice. I always wanted to do a degree but a few years ago would have chosen a totally different subject.

    I don't feel as though I could justify spending time on voluntary work with the elderly while my mum is alive - I would feel guilty that it was time that should be spent with her. How I will feel about that when she is gone I just don't know. However, I do have a full time job, my studying and my son when he is home from uni so it would be hard to fit in.

    My mum was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels until she was in her 70s and her health started to deteriorate. Some of her clients were probably younger than her!
     
  9. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    The whole point about voluntary work is that it should be just that - voluntary! If someone is press-ganged into it then they are highly unlikely to enjoy it as they will just feel resentful!

    I have (wo)manned the telephone lines for Children In Need, Comic Relief etc on a couple of occasions and generally really enjoyed it. However, this only involves a committment of a few hours once every few months. My workplace is one of the centres that takes these calls and we generally have a great time.
     
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,418
    I've been thinking about this, and if we're talking about voluntary work to "take oneself out of oneself" I actually think it's a very bad idea, if you choose this route, to offer one's services in the category of the people you have been caring for. That's not very clear: what I mean is if you've been caring for an older person, try volunteering with, for example, animals. The last thing that I would have wanted to do when my children were young was volunteer with young children. Particularly if you're grieving for someone, I can't see it would be much help to work with people who's circumstances are a constant reminder of the person you've lost. Just because you've been good at something (i.e. caring) doesn't mean that you want to continue. After all, caring is one of those areas which for the most part, choose you rather than vice-versa. You become good at it from force of circumstances, because the alternative is to sink like a stone.

    Jennifer
     
  11. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,657
    Kent
    Voluntary work, in whatever guise, helps some people fill the gaps, left by the loss of something or someone, who took up a great deal of their time.

    It does not necessarily have to be of the same vein, in fact it would be far more therapeutic if it were something entirely different, for example Flag Selling.

    Not everyone wants to do it and no-one has to do it. It`s just an option.
     
  12. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Volunteering can lead to a job

    I trained as a volunteer connected to Adult Education services because it fitted in well with my existing work. I've gained a great deal of self-confidence from it and decided to apply for a new job advertised in my local paper. It turned out that I didn't have the right qualifications, but they offered me an alternative job which will give me some extra experience, so volunteering has helped me a lot.
    It was hard readjusting when Mum went into a Nursing Home and she didn't need me for all the everyday tasks any more. Sometimes volunteering for an interesting job can provide useful experience for later employment. I feel that I now have something to look forward to in a couple of months.
    Kayla
     
  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #13 Margarita, May 20, 2007
    Last edited: May 20, 2007
    I help out in a soup kitchen for the homeless, when my children where younger , My children where at secondary school & I was only working part time , at the time I did not think why I volunteer , I just did it . then it did show me another side of life I never new excessed , just read about it .

    also volunteer helper at a summer camp holiday , that my children use to go on at primary school , I think now thats what lead me to do the soup kitchen . My older daughter did/does a lot of volunteer children work , youth work while at university , because it help her on her CV , for the future in the line of work she wants to work in.

    I always wanted to go to a 3rd world country & do volunteer work , when in my teen years .

    I thought when my children got older like now I would be spending christmas with the homeless and taking my daughter alone to help out , (if they wanted to ) showing them other people reality & if it was not for those voluntary people doing that they do , they would not get feed at christmas and other time of the year or in the 3rd world , not a guilt trip for the helper , but a fact of life
     
  14. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I think perhaps I've done enough for now, work and voluntary work, and I just get tired of all the bullying.
     
  15. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Lila, love, I think you're right. Enjoy your me-time, you can think of work, voluntary or otherwise, when you feel you want to. No-one has the right to bully you.

    Love,
     

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