Family Frustration Over Care giving


Q: Ms.Posvar, I am so frustrated with my family, (specifically with my sister who lives overseas while I am here with my mom who has Alzheimer’s). My sister is full of advice on how to care for mom but her overall outlook is that I am over worried and Mom is “Fine.” She even has gone as far to say I should move in with her so I can care for all her needs and not worry. If I did that, who would take care of my children and myself? I go at least four days a week to check on my mom, do her laundry, shopping and prepare meals for her. I talk to her almost daily and if I am too busy to call she is calling me frantic and I have to spend all night calming her down. This is so frustrating!! My siblings and friends do not GET IT!! They all think this is normal and my mom is “fine!” I can’t take it anymore! How can I control my frustration? I do not like being like this.

A: I am sorry that this is happening to you. I am sure you have already offered for them to take over and they have refused. Your frustration is validated as many times families can be in denial of a parent or loved ones condition and see it as something not to be concerned about. Lack of understanding of caring for an adult is usually found when someone suggests that someone else does the caring and live-in with no means to support that caregiver. Dealing with families’ lack of support is one of the challenges that family caregivers deal with daily and it is detrimental to the carer’s health.

My recommendation to you is to understand and accept that your siblings and friends are not in a place that they can help you at this time. Although, this is not comforting to know, you do not have time to dwell on their toxic thoughts and words. Your frustration toward them is harming you. Step out of the frustration for a moment and look at it and decide if this is an emotion you want to embrace. The answer is “no” of course so dismissing it serves your well-being. Take pride in the fact that you are doing all you can for your mom. In cases like this it is best to start looking for support from other sources. You are off to a good start with your email. The feelings you have are real and understandable. Join a Facebook group such as St. Lucia’s Caring Angels ~ Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support, Memory People and other groups around the world that understand what you are experiencing. People going through similar situations can better support each other.

Another suggestion is to have your family and friends a little more involved with the day-to-day activities needed for your Mom, for example: “I need your help, would you come by mom’s and help me clean out her closet and organize her room so she doesn’t fall. Come around 2:00 p.m. and stay till 5:00 p.m.” There are some families that just do not know what to do to help because they have a distorted view of caring for an elderly not realizing it involves every aspect of life. So as annoying as it may be to some caregivers to have to spell everything out on what help is needed, you may be dealing with some people who require direction. Dailycaring.com gave great tips on helping families involve other family members to help such as: telling them you need more help with caring; find out what skill they have and match it with the care you need for your older adult; letting family and friends know what would be most helpful for you; and tell them what is most helpful for the older adult. And of course for those families who are at a distance let them know that they can still participate with taking over with things such as paying bills on-line; if able to… manage all the finances, pay for hired help; emotional support is also a priority. Remember to have these discussions in a calm loving manner. Expressing any of this with frustration does not always produce the best results.

I also recommend that you get a family assessment to see if there are services that you may benefit from in regard to respite care or other eyes to help you with your mom to decrease your worries, especially when there is not enough family support.

QUOTE: Respect the elderly when you are young, Help the weak when you strong, Admit your mistakes when you are wrong. Because someday you will grow old and become weak and will expect others to show you some RESPECT.

Send in your questions regarding Alzheimer’s, dementia or caregiving to [email protected]

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