Marjorie Richards was one of Owen’s caregivers. She worked with our family for several years off and on and was probably the most experienced of the group. What I remember most was that she was unflappable – nothing fazed her, she was always on time, she was always energetic and ready to go. She also wasn’t intrusive or irritating; she seemed to have figured out how to be helpful and blend into the household while maintaining personal boundaries. In other words, she knew what her role was and what she was in our house for. Her confidence was reassuring to me.
I interviewed Marjorie last week about being a professional caregiver/respite provider, and what it’s like working with families. I edited together 3 videos – you should watch them all, but the one embedded here offers important insights about family life that could only be made by someone with her level of experience.
One of the other videos discusses how she runs her business, Running with the Kidz – if you hire staff or have workers in your home, you might find it interesting to hear an insider’s view on running an agency.
The final video is about Marjorie’s experience growing up with a brother with severe (acquired) disabilities, and his death in young adulthood due to caregiver negligence. This part of Marjorie’s life was of course formative, but what’s remarkable to me is that it’s not a straight line between the past and the present. How Marjorie absorbed this experience and integrates it into her life is nuanced and mature. As she says, “My brother inspires me… but he inspires me in the world. It’s not about what I do necessarily.”
Observations on family dynamics, parenting and navigating relationships
00:06 describes the types of families she works with
01:00 describes her working relationship with parents
03:04 shares the challenges of navigating couples’ relationships
05:31 discusses how she coaches her staff to manage family interactions
06:43 describes being an experienced caregiver to inexperienced families
08:12 reflects on the differences between being a respite provider and being a parent
12:13 recognizes the emotional and physical toll of chronic caregiving for parents
14:23 offers a perspective on life for parents to consider
(If you’re receiving this post via email and do not see a video embedded, click here to see this post.)