Caregivers: When the Terminally Ill Spouse Keeps Working.

As his caregiver, I was pleased but a little concerned that in August of 2014, Chris still ran his small painting business.

He handled inquiries, did the appraisals, got the subcontractor bids and dealt with customer kudos and complaints.

I worried about the stress, but when I asked the doctor about it, his answer was surprising.  He said the business was probably what keeps Chris going.

Research indicates that loss of interest in a person’s work or hobbies is one of the major signs of depression in the chronically and/or terminally ill.

This wasn’t the case with Chris.  On the contrary, his mental and emotional well-being were certainly bolstered by the small business he’d built up over the years.

Though he could hardly walk to the kitchen some days, still he would summon up the energy to meet with aclient and sell the job.

Chris enjoyed the clients, the paint store reps and lively discussions with the subcontractor.

An important decision to relieve the pressure that came with the business?   Getting rid of the one big client who was also the one big stressor. After that, the painting business became purely pleasurable for him.

 Usually I drove, due to his health.  Afterward, he’d be so energized, we might go for breakfast, or take a run into the States for gas or pick up his meds at Costco. 

The doctor was right: starting out with a purpose? That’s what kept Chris going.

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