When Family Caregiving Gets Tough

A couple of times per week Cindy & I present Help Me Help Momma LiveCast (on Facebook) where we discuss questions about Family Caregiving.  We take questions from real Family Caregivers. These folks have my absolute respect.  They are in the trenches doing the hard work of taking care of parents or spouses every day.  Many of these caregivers are near the beginning of their Journey. Most of them have jobs and other family to care for as well. Some have had to quit due to stress or time constraints. Family Caregiving is done out of love with little to no glory and a lot of financial strain.

Family Caregiving Journey Stop 2

Many of you have heard us talk about the different Journey Stops on the Bridge of Life. Journey Stop 2 is the Stage we refer to as the Serious Time Stage.  At this level of involvement, a Family Caregiver may spend 3 – 6 hours a day to meet the needs of their Loved One at home.

During this stage, a whole host of problems crop up, which you didn’t see coming.  Some are easy to deal with and some are substantial problems.  Consequently, all require time, effort, tact and persistence to handle.  Here are a few of the real life questions / problems presented to us on Family Caregiving. Many are still wrestling with these problems as we speak.  (To protect identity, some of the facts have been generalized and names have been omitted).

Real Life Family Caregiving Problems

“I am a caregiver to my husband. He had a bad heart attack and they were unable to operate because the doctor’s said that there was a good chance he wouldn’t pull through.  He is unable to do a lot of things for himself, but when I run to the store or run errands he makes me feel guilty because he wants me to hurry back or not be gone long.  I feel so guilty when I’m gone, but, I have no one to sit with him.”

“What happens when Momma changes her mind and refuses to allow us to help her.  She lives out of state.  Her Alzheimer’s is getting worse and she needs help.  She wants is to be in her house and says her friends can help her. (but they can’t / won’t).”

“My Mom is in the last stage of Alzheimer and is very weak. My siblings not only refuse to help but actually interfere with everything that I try to do to help Mom.  How do I get them to help me help Mom?”

“How can deal with guilt I feel from not spending time with my husband?”

“Hello, I am an only child to a mother with dementia. My mother doesn’t know who I am and she is very hostile towards me, her only caretaker. I am becoming fatigued and very unhappy. What do I do to get my life back together when it comes to being a daughter and 24 hr caretaker?”

Tough Decisions Ahead For Family Caregiving

These represent a random sampling of the type of questions that we receive every day from Caregivers. They are struggling with the stresses of Journey Stop #2, the Serious Time Stage.  Family stress levels are high. They say and do things to their fellow family members that would have never otherwise happened.  Stretched finances create family turmoil. Everyone wonders how Momma and / or the family will be able to pay for Momma’s ever increasing care needs.  This is also the point where you, the Family Caregiver, review your job. Unless you are already retired, you may decide to quit your job or go part-time, if your boss will let you.  

It is usually also the time that the family makes some tough decisions about the future of Momma’s care.  Can we afford to bring in additional caregivers?  Even if we do bring in outside caregivers, can they adequately provide the type of care that Momma needs?  How can we afford to pay for all of this?  And, with all of the money required to pay for Momma’s care, how will Dad be able to survive financially?

Where Can I Get Help On Family Caregiving?

All of these are tough, real-life questions.  Taking certain, specific actions can improve most situations fortunately. These serve to improve the lives of both the Family Caregiver and the one that they are caring for.  To help find some of the answers that you are looking for, here are 3 tips:

  1. Seek the assistance of your local Geriatric Physician, Elder Law Attorney and Financial Professional.  All three can work with you to help develop a better plan that will serve you and your Loved One well.
  2. Listen to our free Facebook Livecast on Monday and Wednesday at Noon, CST.  Doug & Cindy answer caregiver questions (such as the ones listed above) and give tips to Family Caregivers who submit their questions on the Help Me Help Momma Facebook page.
  3. Enroll in our Caregiver Support Group (a private, closed Facbook group).  Family Caregivers can share tips and help to uplift and support each other in their Caregiving journey.  To request an invitation to be admitted to this group, just go to the Help Me Help Momma Virtual Family Caregiver Support Group.

We hope these tips help with your Family Caregiver journey.  We also hope to see you on a Facebook LiveCast call or inside the doors of the Caregiver Support Group soon.

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