Caring for someone is hard enough as it is, but what if you don’t like the person you are caring for? That person might be a chronic complainer or hypchondriac, someone who was an unloving or overly critical parent, an alcoholic or drug abuser, an unfaithful spouse, or an emotional, physical or sexual abuser. What do you do? Abandon them or develop compassionate coping skills to help them during a difficult period, which might turn out to be the end of their life?
Why you are caring for that person?
- You don’t want to feel guilty
- You feel responsible
- You want to be a good role model for your children
- It’s too expensive to hire help or move the person to a facility
Talk with a social worker or therapist to clarify your goals and boundaries.
Here are some topics that you might want to address:
- Are you still working? How do you manage your schedule in addition to caregiving? Create a schedule of when you are available and when you are not.
- Establish boundaries and remember that it is okay to say”no” to a request without feeling guilty or angry.
- How do you maintain a personal life while enjoying a sense of freedom and happiness?
- How can you reduce your stress levels? For ways to reduce stress fast visit: https://barbracohn.com/blog/,
- Can you find one thing you like about the person you are caring for?
- Is it possible to provide care without being in direct contact with the person? For instance, could you manage their finances, arrange for professional home care, schedule visitors and appointments?
What are your personal needs?
Remember that you need to take care of yourself. This blog is packed with information about self care. There are also lots of ways to get outside help.
- Have a family meeting via Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Duo or phone. Explain what is going on and ask for physical help or ideas.
- Ask family members who live in your area to assist by visiting, providing respite care, help with appointments, meals, meds, equipment, etc.
- People who live far away can help research organizations, day programs, equipment, Medicaid programs, etc.
- Learn about local grocery stores that deli
- Look into organizations that help with senior services, day care programs, etc.
- Community agencies are a great source for volunteer programs and caregiver classes.
- Find out what qualifies your care recipient for long-term Medicaid services which may provide skilled nursing, the opportunity to live at an assisted living facility, home health care and adult day care.
Caregiving is one of the hardest things anyone will ever ask you to do. It’s been said that all of us will at one time either be a caregiver or be cared for. Try to be respectful, compassionate and mindful of your needs as well as the person you so generously help.
Barbra Cohn cared for her husband Morris for 10 years. He passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. Afterward, she was compelled to write “Calmer Waters: The Caregiver’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s & Dementia”—Winner of the 2018 Book Excellence Award in Self-Help—in order to help other caregivers feel healthier and happier, have more energy, sleep better, feel more confident, deal with feelings of guilt and grief, and to ultimately experience inner peace. “Calmer Waters” is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boulder Book Store, Tattered Cover Book Store, Indie Bound.org, and many other fine independent bookstores, as well as public libraries.