For the longest time, you figure that providing some level of care for your mother was going to be a breeze. You thought about it when your father became ill and then passed away. You worried about her and what would happen if she required some help at home. While you may be a family caregiver for her, you didn’t anticipate how much caregiver stress was going to affect you until the holidays snuck up upon you.
Being a caregiver is a great responsibility. You can’t just stop by once in a while to check on your loved one and expect that everything will remain fine. You need to accept that there will be times when you need to do more.
For Michelle, caring for her mother was something that she always assumed that she would do if and when the time came to provide care. She was prepared for it, as she would tell her friends. In the beginning, she would call and stop in on a daily basis and find out if her mother needed anything. When her mother would reply that she was fine, Michelle would head home and not think about it.
Then, when she was planning to have family come from all over for the holidays, and her mother suddenly seemed to need more help, she felt the full effect of caregiver stress. It isn’t that her mother actually required more care, but rather that since Michelle was much busier during this time of the year, she felt pressed for time. The hour or two that she would spend with her mother, helping her cook or do some of the laundry, didn’t seem like a major burden to her.
However, when she was planning for the holidays, it seemed as though her mother was calling her constantly and she was beginning to feel the pressure as the days grew shorter and the Christmas holiday grew closer. Michelle began to lose patience with her mother and even though she knew this was the wrong thing, she couldn’t seem to help it.
One day, a friend was over and helping her cook when Michelle snapped at her mother on the phone. The friend suggested that she hire a professional in home care provider to be there for her mother. It was a simple solution, but one that she hadn’t considered before. Once she hired a professional, she was able to focus on her relationship with her mother again and that helped to alleviate the caregiver stress that she’d been feeling, but hadn’t recognized until the pressure was all around her.
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