Planning Ahead: Caregivers Need Encouragement
By JANET M. COLLITON
Sometimes people are doing better than they think and need to be reminded.
I considered this recently when meeting with a man who felt he was without options in providing caregiving for his mother.
The rest of the family was engaged elsewhere and ignoring the problems. His mother with her physical and mental conditions needed help. He was supposed to keep her for a short stay and it extended well beyond what he expected. There were other physical issues with people who depended on him.
In describing what happened, he paused, I think, not knowing where to go with this line of thought.
Leaning across the table, I said words something like this:
“You have been faced with difficult choices in an imperfect situation. You have made the best decisions you could for the time. You stepped up and took responsibility. The fact that you could not make it perfect does not take away from what you did. Everything you did was the best that you could do for the time.”
Then it was time to look at what we could do now recognizing realistically that he was unlikely to receive help from expected sources.
Since then, looking back over the many adult children and husbands and wives who are caregivers for parents and spouses in difficult circumstances, I cannot help but wonder whether they ever receive anything like the recognition they deserve or if they ever even recognize it themselves.
One family described how it took two people to help their parent up the stairs at home and that took 45 minutes. Some time ago, a woman described her scare when her mother-in-law briefly leaned from the front porch. A woman injured herself while lifting her husband. Children sometimes give up jobs, employment opportunities or advancement to care for parents. In some cases wives or husbands cannot sleep while their spouse gets up repeatedly through the night, a result of dementia.
These are not unusual occurrences and are not resolved easily, not even with money and not even with paid companions. They can be made easier with advice and with more people helping. Professional help should be sought when needed.
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.