I will admit that I am a HUGE Marvel geek. My friend Anne Marie and I attend opening night of all Marvel/DC Comic movies (I persuaded my husband to create a Super Hero bathroom in our Master Bedroom using Marvel and DC Comic movie posters). Therefore, when I saw the preview for Logan (Wolverine/X-Men), I pre-ordered tickets and eagerly awaited opening night.
Early on in the movie, though the primary storyline is about the girl Laura, Logan’s daughter, the underlying narrative is one of the caregiving relationship between Logan and Professor Charles Xavier.
*At this point I want to assure my fellow Marvelites (not sure if that’s a word, if not, it should be), that I will not reveal any key movie spoilers, only my perception of the relationship between Logan and Professor Charles Xavier.
Professor Charles Xavier has always been a father figure to the mutants and Logan, for me, epitomized a type of prodigal son, whom Charles always welcomed back into the family fold. Now in his advanced age, Charles is in need of care by someone who not only understands that his mind and body are frail and failing, but that the challenges of caring for an elderly loved one become more complex when that person is a mutant.
You may be wondering: OK Sue, you saw a movie and the characters cared for each other- What does this have to do with me? Thanks for asking (I said to myself) – I’ll tell you.
The eldercare dynamics encountered by Logan and Charles, along with Logan’s normal capricious temperament (and a multi-generational movie twist), paradoxically embodied the challenges, frustration and chaos experienced by the majority of family caregivers throughout their caregiving journey.
Caregiving is a complex, nonetheless, there are things you can do to make the load a little lighter.
Lessons from Logan (both constructive and adverse)
- Show up – even when you don’t want to because the burdens feel so overwhelming
- Accept support from others – this was a difficult proposition for Logan as well as countless family caregivers, however, Logan employed another mutant to assist in the care of the professor.
- Even in the midst of frustration and overwhelming feelings of dejection, do your best to be respectful of those in your care as well as those who are helping you (even if they don’t do things exactly how you would do them)
Most importantly TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
This was the greatest challenging for Logan and EVERY caregiver I have ever met (myself included –see Fundamental Rule of Caregiving). It’s easy to get overwhelmed when caring for a loved one and not only put self-care on the back burner, but develop unhealthy habits. If you don’t engage in self-care, both physically and emotionally (ex: making time to exercise and seek an outlet for frustrations, whether through a formal caregiving support group or with a trusted friend – challenges associated with caregiving can have a negative effect on your health and makes you less effective in the care of others.
Make self-care a priority, exercise, read a book, go see a movie (Logan is now playing in theaters – Official Trailer).
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