From Surviving to Thriving: New Perspectives for Caretakers
Columnist Corina Andronache shares her story about becoming better caretaker.
By Corina Andronache
In 2010 I was faced with the daunting reality that my mother could no longer live in her own home. Her Multiple Sclerosis, an affliction she dealt with for the past 43 years was taking a turn for the worse. For the past four years, she had a part time caretaker, but it came to the point that she needed around-the-clock care. My life for the rest of the year was put on hold so I could care for her needs and help her adjust to the new environment in a nursing home. I was not taking care of myself. I was taking care of my mother. Or so I thought…
Because I felt responsible for my mom’s wellbeing and guilty that I could not do better for her, I was spending most of my time at the nursing home. I would go home and still have no peace of mind, thinking she was there alone. To make it worse, because independence is important to my mom, she was falling a lot. Late at night and early in the morning, the staff would call me to let me know that she fell again or that they found her crawling to the bathroom by herself.
Caring for a parent, a sick child or aging spouse can be a daunting experience. It’s so easy to become caught up in the drama of the situation and forget about ourselves. We allow the situation to drain us until we have nothing else to give but anger and resentment. The distress of being the main caregiver for a prolonged amount of time is detrimental to the wellbeing and the health of the caregiver.
A number of recent studies done at Ohio State University about caregiver stress “not only found a significant deterioration in the health of the caregiver when compared to a similar group of non-caregivers but also found the caregivers had a 63 percent higher death rate than the control group. It can induce illness and depression, even cause premature death.” During the research period, 70 percent of the caregivers died before the end of the study and had to be replaced with new participants.
If you or someone you know needs help with home care in Seattle or the surrounding area, contact the caregivers at Andelcare. We provide quality and affordable in home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at 888-788-3051 for more information.