Jane didn’t really think of herself as a family caregiver. Yet, she had been looking after her father for more than a few months. Her mother was dealing with her own health issues, and when her father had a stroke, she didn’t want to ignore him.
Jane lived right down the road.
She lived only 2 miles away from her parents. She felt this was her responsibility. If she even contemplated avoiding being a family caregiver, she would feel guilty. At first, the work was exhausting. Her father’s road to recovery was long and due to the damage the stroke caused to his brain, he would always have mobility issues and trouble communicating.
She didn’t know how long she could keep doing this.
There are so many things Jane wants to do this year. She missed out on summer. She loves going to the beach and didn’t make it out there even once. She enjoys going into the city, checking out a few art galleries, and going to dinner with her husband a couple of times a year. She hasn’t done that since her father was in the hospital.
Even the vacation they had initially planned was put on hold.
As a family caregiver, Jane was feeling the effects of pressure and stress in her life. As autumn rolled in and the holiday season was looming in the not too distant future, she started to think a lot about places she wanted to go, things she wanted to do, and all of these desires that were suddenly put on the back burner of her life.
Her husband kept talking to her about other options. If she even seriously considered hiring home care to look after her father, she would see it as a sign of failure, as a sign she didn’t care. She couldn’t bear that burden.
Eventually, though, her husband convinced her that relying on a home care aide for just a couple of days a week to start would help her and him (not to mention her mother) realize how beneficial an experienced caregiver could be. Eventually, they increased the number of hours this caregiver was working with her father and she was able to take some time off and go do the things she had given up. This helped alleviate some of the stress she felt in life, and made her realize that if she didn’t take care of herself first, she really couldn’t be much of a benefit to anyone else.