6 novembre 2019

Témoignage d’un proche aidant d’aîné — Bernard — qui soutient la mère de son épouse.

En dépit de sa situation de proche aidant, qu’il assume avec sa conjointe depuis dix ans, Bernard se demandait encore récemment : « Suis-je vraiment un proche aidant ? » Toutes les deux semaines, il parcourt les 122 km qui séparent Québec de Charlevoix pour visiter sa belle-mère Anne-Marie, et lui rendre bon nombre de services. Oui, il se posait la question, car elle n’habite pas avec eux.

Anne-Marie vit seule dans sa maison et se sent un peu isolée. Elle se plaint de cette situation, mais elle ne veut pas quitter son domicile et encore moins aller en résidence, pour lesquelles elle a de forts préjugés. À 83 ans, elle ne présente pas de pathologie particulière, mais les signes de vieillissement sont de plus en plus notables : diminution générale de ses réflexes, facultés et perceptions, de la vue, de l’ouïe.

Ce qui préoccupe le plus Bernard, c’est qu’Anne-Marie veut de moins en moins se faire à manger et entretenir sa maison. C’est là qu’il intervient. Il collabore à l’épicerie avec sa conjointe et son beau-frère, prépare quelques repas, s’occupe de certains travaux domestiques et extérieurs. Sa conjointe prend davantage en charge l’aspect financier et prépare également quelques repas.

Leur vie de couple et de famille devient limitée. Bernard ne veut pas négliger ses enfants et petits-enfants, mais il ne peut se résoudre à ne pas aider Anne-Marie. Et puis, à 70 ans, il est plus rapidement fatigué : les allers-retours — surtout l’hiver — sont de plus en plus exigeants. Il a tendance à vouloir trop en faire, il s’en rend compte : « Je veux l’aider, mais je ne lui demande pas toujours son avis. Parfois, elle veut juste que je discute avec elle, sans forcément faire ou réparer quelque chose. »

Aussi longtemps qu’il le pourra, Bernard aura à cœur de poursuivre son rôle d’aidant. Préoccupé par la situation des hommes proches aidants, il s’est peu à peu investi d’une autre mission : travailler à améliorer la façon de s’impliquer. Il rencontre de plus en plus de personnes proches aidantes et la même problématique revient sans cesse. Peu importe la raison — fierté, méconnaissance, volonté de garder la situation privée… — Bernard constate que peu d’entre elles osent demander de l’aide, et pour lui, c’est primordial : « On pense connaître nos besoins, mais ce n’est pas vrai. »

Donc, Bernard est bien un proche aidant, et il souhaite de plus en plus apporter sa pierre à l’édifice. Conseiller, aider au gré des conférences auxquelles il assiste et participe. Il a d’ailleurs rédigé son propre document de référence qu’il consulte régulièrement et partage tout autant : « Ma préoccupation est d’être à l’aise comme proche aidant masculin et faire part de cette préoccupation à d’autres hommes qui vivent ou auront à vivre cette situation ou ce rôle. »

Hommes ou femmes, nous avons tous besoin d’être écoutés, compris et soutenus. De nombreux organismes communautaires offrent des ressources pour répondre à vos besoins; certaines sont même spécifiquement dédiées aux proches aidants masculins. N’attendez pas d’être dépassé par la situation pour demander de l’aide. Le service Info-aidant de l’Appui est là pour vous. N’hésitez pas à contacter nos conseillers qui pourront vous donner de plus amples informations sur les services disponibles.

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