Let’s be blunt. As we age it gets more difficult to handle the day to day activities, we took for granted when we were younger. In this article we discuss the role of a senior caregiver.
It comes down to short term care or long term care and whether we can imagine it or not, eventually it will be needed for you and me. Nobody beats “father time”.
In some families, there is a trusted family member or a close friend that can fill the role of caring or a senior. It’s a very demanding job, but either out of love or for money, there are folks out there who will take care of those nearing the end of life.
Does Anyone Really Enjoy the Responsibility of Being a Senior Caregiver Though?
The problem is burnout. As a Senior continues to age, there is more and more responsibility associated with their care. A simple fall can result in a broken hip or worse. Sometimes the elderly will try and handle their own medication with disastrous results.
My Dad’s Story…
When my Dad was near his end of life at age 87, we hired a local senior care company to provide service in the morning for 3 hours a day. My Dad was barely mobile and you could see things were heading in one direction.
One day we were allowing the caregiver to watch my Dad verses ourselves. As we were watching TV trying to catch a break from the 21 hours a day we were handling him, we heard a giant crash in my Dad’s bedroom.
We rushed in and found him on the ground. The caregiver had leaned him up against an ottoman while he went to the bathroom, but unknown to him, the ottoman had wheels.
My Dad never had a chance and crashed into the hardwood floor. He was bumped and bruised, but luckily nothing that required a hospital visit.
We could have blamed the caregiver but realized that nature had it’s calling and he probably had no choice but to go to the bathroom. In short, being a senior caregiver can be a brutal job, because just one mistake in judgement can lead to disaster.
My Mom’s Story…
As my mom aged my wife Sandra took care of her. Sandra is from Cartagena, Columbia and in her country you take care of the elderly until they pass and the thought of a nursing home or otherwise is something they simply do not understand.
The odd thing was, my mother really didn’t appreciate the work Sandra did taking care of her. They got along wonderfully, but my Mom thought she should still be living alone. She kept saying she wanted her independence.
Independence is fine, but when you are almost 87 and can barely walk and still want to live like you did 30 years ago, that just isn’t a safe decision. Especially when you insist on continuing to drive.
It’s madness actually, but the thing to realize is the same mind that wants to live alone, is usually forced to accept the fact that they will need help
No One Ever Said Growing Old Would be Easy.
Again, taking care of the elderly can be a thankless job and it can be a stressful job. To this day my wife blames herself that my mother wasn’t happy with all that was done for her.
Seeing the Signs of Burnout of a Senior Caregiver
My wife never became angry at my Mom, but she did start telling me she was losing it mentally. She could not understand how so much work, could be so little appreciated. I love my wife, but had even more respect for her after I saw what she did for my Mom.
But it took it’s toll ..
- She started to drink
- My wife gained some weight
- She would be fatigued
- Her concentration suffered
- Even though she was fatigued, she couldn’t sleep
Recognize The Signs And Consequences Of Stress
And worst of all she started to get mean. Mean to me. I rarely said a word because I saw how hard she worked with my Mom and the last thing she needed was me retaliating against her own bad temper. A bad temper that was brought on from burnout from taking care of my Mom.
Now, you might say, it’s not unusual for a wife and a mother in law not to get along. But here is the kicker, both of them got along beautifully. I still shake my head to this day wondering what went wrong.
It really illustrated to me just what a thankless job being a caregiver was. So when the time comes for you to hire a senior caregiver for a parent, realize just how difficult a job it truly is.
Strange how things work. My Mom finally left us and I knew it was time to reward my wife with a trip back to her home in Cartagena, Columbia. She had a wonderful time. I could see the relief in her eyes.
Still to this day, she wishes my Mom was still with us. In fact just before sitting down to write this report tonight (December 31, 2019) my wife told me she was sorry that Mom didn’t appreciate what we had done for her. We’ve come to the realization that we/she did nothing wrong. It was just an illustration of how difficult the elderly can be to deal with.
It’s just that the pressure of taking care of the elderly, truly a labor of love, is still a very difficult journey for all involved.
Senior Caregiver Resources:
- Caregiver Stress
- Caregiver Burnout Signs & Prevention
- 4 Things You Can Do to Alleviate Caregiver Stress
- Five Causes of Caregiver Burnout & Fatigue
- Five Creative Ways to Lower Caregiver Stress
- Seven Tried-And-True Ways To Avoid Caregiver Burnout
- Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
- Compassion Fatigue: When Caregivers Go Beyond Burnout
- Caregiver Stress and Burnout
- Recognizing Caregiver Burnout
- 52 Expert Tips to Help You Caregiver Stress, Fatigue, & Burnout
- Caregiver Statistics: Demographics
- How to Care for Yourself When You Have Caregiver Burnout
- Are You a Caregiving Martyr?
- Caregiver Stress Syndrome
- Are You an Overbearing Caregiver?
- 70% of All Caregivers Over the Age of 70 Die First
Gary P. Cubeta
(Serving Americans In All 50 States)