Perhaps you’ve known an incredibly selfless individual who sacrificed many of his or her own interests for someone who needed their care. Every so often, one of these people is rewarded in a very special way for all they do and have done.
During November’s National Family Caregiver Awareness Month, we want to take time to revisit the wishes we helped to grant this year in partnership with Wish of a Lifetime.
Annie “Laura” Bennett, 82, became her husband’s full-time caregiver after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. Like many family caregivers, Mrs. Bennett kept pushing herself to be the best caregiver she could for her husband until her own health began to decline.
A National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP 2016 survey found:
- 82% of caregivers care for one other adult
- 75% of all caregivers are female
- 85% of caregivers care for a relative
- 2 out of 10 caregivers felt that caregiving made their own health worse
- 4 out of 10 caregivers consider their caregiving situation to be highly stressful
Not only did Mrs. Bennett care for her husband, but she had always been busy doing for others—raising her children, volunteering at her children’s schools, and through her church volunteered to help an adoption agency.
It was her daughter who nominated her for a wish to go to a literal storybook land, with help from Wish of a Lifetime, a non-profit dedicated to changing society’s views of the elderly by fulfilling dreams and sharing the stories.
Earlier this year, Mrs. Bennett and her daughter went to Prince Edward Island, the setting for Anne of Green Gables. The two used to enjoy reading the story together and had watched the TV miniseries based on the beloved children’s classic.
They had an amazing time meeting the local “characters” and seeing the pages of the storybook come to life together. Although she is now living with dementia, Mrs. Bennett was able to make new memories with and for her daughter and granddaughter, who accompanied her on the special trip of a lifetime.
Not only did Kay, 70, of Iowa, raise her own kids, she spent decades volunteering as a nurse to foster babies (infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome). She showered them with constant love and affection so they could go on to live healthy lives with new families. She also fostered children from other countries who came to the United States for life-saving surgery.
Like so many caregivers, she humbly said of her years of giving so much kindness to those in need. “I got so much more of them than they did of me.”
After a stroke left her too disabled to continue fostering babies, her daughter nominated her for a wish so someone could do something nice for Kay. Her wish was to take a splendid cruise—and she did!
Read about more wishes fulfilled for people who have given so much to others in their long lives.