Allison was not the type of person who took care of others effectively. She never wanted to be a mother because she had her own ambitions in life. The idea of changing diapers, dealing with midnight feedings, and having to worry about another life in her care did not appeal to her. When her mother was in her late 70s and had a heart attack, she never thought twice about what she was going to do.
She became a primary caregiver.
She didn’t see herself as a caregiver, but somebody who was going to (at least for a short time) take care of her mother, someone who had been there most of her life. She thought this would be relatively simple. She believed it was only going to be for a few weeks, at best.
As more time went on, her mother called her for a broader range of purposes. Before she realized it, she was undergoing a tremendous amount of stress and pressure just trying to focus on her career, stay in shape, eat healthy, keep her marriage together, and still look after her mother.
Within a few months, Allison felt like an employee.
Her mother would call her if she was five minutes late wondering where she was. “Mom,” she said, “I had to stop at the store to pick these things up for you. Relax. I’ll be there.” She felt as though she had to justify every moment in her life to her mother.
If she had to run an errand, skip stopping by for a quick visit, or had to leave early, she felt as though she had to make an excuse every single time, even if it was just to get a mental break from all this caregiving.
Allison is like so many other family caregivers across the country; she felt like an employee rather than a daughter offering support to her elderly mother. Caregiving is a job and it doesn’t matter whether a person is looking after a family member, friend, or a complete stranger, they need to treat it as a job as well.
Allison should have sat down with her mother to explain her limits.
She should have set boundaries. Yes, caregiving must be treated like a job, but when somebody begins to feel like an employee rather than an adult child, son or daughter, spouse, sibling, or even a friend, it’s time to think about other options, which can include hiring experienced home care support.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care to reduce caregiver stress in Toms River, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.