Georgia Buckley and her husband William live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shortly after helping her husband, William, recover from a series of strokes, William’s mother started to fall ill. Georgia traveled 60 miles to and from her mother-in-law’s home several days a week to take her to doctor’s appointments, buy her groceries and cook her meals. As her health continued to decline, she became bed-ridden and relied on Georgia completely to feed, bathe her and help her to the restroom.
When William’s mother passed away, Georgia and William asked William’s father to come live with them. He was also in poor health and relied heavily on his son and daughter-in-law for day-to-day help. From helping him bathe and eat, to making sure he took his medicine, to changing his diapers and physically picking him up off the floor when he fell, Georgia became his full-time caregiver.
“It was a tough situation,” Georgia said, “especially because other members of the family didn’t know
what to do or didn’t want to help. My husband looked at me and said, ‘We’ve got to do this.’ And we
just did it because that’s the way we are.”
Georgia and William made their own sacrifices to become caregivers. William quit his job so that he could stay home with Georgia to help. Georgia was attending school for event-planning and interior design, but had to quit to become a caregiver. She admitted that she felt resentment toward other family members for not stepping up. “I was angry. I was angry with the rest of the family. But I’m glad that I was able to do that for my husband. I was able to step in, take charge and do what was needed to be done for him and for them.”
Georgia and her family have sacrificed a great deal of time, energy and income in order to act as caregivers. “Caregiving is one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had. It’s physical; it’s mental; it’s very emotional. It makes you a different person than what you are or who you ever thought you would be.”
“I see so many people like me who have worked hard and struggled to support their families, and I believe our system should better recognize that hard work,” Georgia said.
Though both of her husband’s parents are now deceased, she has not stopped taking care of others. She helps her elderly neighbors across the street by taking them to doctor’s appointments, doing their grocery shopping and helping them around the house. “I’m there when they need me,” Georgia said. “I go over to help them probably four or five times a week.”