Faces of Caregiving – France
Jocelyne was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 15 years ago. In her younger years and before her diagnosis she was a gymnast taking part in championship tournaments and used to love dancing – activities that are no longer possible for her. Jocelyne lives with her husband and son, Pierre- Rémi, who are both her caregivers. She sees her condition as a ‘battle’ that has to be fought on a daily basis but is grateful that she is not fighting it alone.
Over the years, the family have all had to adapt their lives around Jocelyne’s condition with father and son assuming different caring roles. Jocelyne’s husband does most of the household chores including cooking and grocery shopping as Jocelyne increasingly finds that she can’t perform even simple tasks, like washing and drying her hair or peeling vegetables, due to a deterioration in her motor skills, making her clumsy.
Pierre-Rémi helps her to continue to pursue her hobbies and interests as much as possible; maximising her leisure time. They spend time in the garden together, with Pierre-Rémi helping Jocelyne with the gardening and the more manual tasks like cutting logs for the fire.
Jocelyne is so grateful to her husband and son: “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to live in the countryside. I walk in the garden every day with Pierre-Rémi and remain active – thanks to him.”
Pierre-Rémi recognises that often caregivers don’t have a choice and the role is suddenly imposed on them. However, for him personally, living at home and helping his mother was an easy decision to make and he has never questioned it, even though he has had to put his career on hold.
However, he is not unhappy about his situation and throws himself into the caring role, living firmly in the present and taking each day as it comes. He feels that by helping other people, without an ulterior motive, you’re also helping yourself to improve and grow as a person.