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Caregiving a loved one is a 24/7 Job

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My 91 year old lives in his own home with 24 hour caregivers and hospice nurse visits twice weekly. For the past two weeks his favorite caregiver has been away on vacation visiting family. We have had two weeks of sleepless days and nights with substitute caregivers. My husband and I can monitor my dad's home with security cameras when we are not there; it is almost like living there.

Thanks to a new government law mandating overtime pay over 40 hours, we have had to hire two additional new caregivers. One started today and one will begin on Friday. A law that was intended to help caregivers now forces them to work with multiple agencies in order to get enough hours to support their families. It makes their lives harder, and it robs their clients of the bond they enjoyed with their favorite caregivers.

Today I spent three hours at my dad's with the new caregiver. Tonight I slept for two hours until I was awakened by a phone call from the home security company. The caregiver accidentally set the alarm incorrectly, and it was going off at my dad's house. I will be up for several more hours before I can get settled down and get back to sleep. Most nights I sleep just a few hours before something stressful wakes me up. One night recently a substitute caregiver texted me 18 times!

My husband and I had made plans to get away for three nights this week, but we had to cancel. Until we know that the new hires are going to work out OK, we cannot go anywhere.

Caregiving is the most difficult job I have ever had. Many of you know this as well. Our AARP bulletin just arrived today; I understand that there is a very good article about caregiving in there.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SWEETNEEY
    I know what you are talking about. Do your best.
    1527 days ago
  • ALIHIKES
    So sorry Evelyn that you are going through this. My mother was determined to live independently in her own home with hired caregivers -- until she had her hip replacement, and realized how difficult it was to find 24 hour care. We pitched in and helped out. After that experience -- She selected her own retirement center, and I am so grateful that she did. Caregiving is a lot of hours and heartache. We all tried to help out with the special care that she needed -- but at least in the retirement center, the basics (meals, bathing, changing etc.) were covered.

    On the other hand, my friend feels guilty that they placed her mom with Alzheimer's in a home (her mom did NOT want to go) ...

    All we can do is make the best choices that we can, and try to build joy and love into our days.

    Hugs from
    Alison
    1532 days ago
  • JANETRIS
    Dear Evelyn, I had no idea you were dealing with this. You have been such a supportive caregiver these past few years for your family. I hope you find the right combination of caregivers that work for your situation now. It really pays to save for your old age. One day at a time. I hope you find some time for yourself soon. Prayers are headed your way Spark friend! emoticon
    1536 days ago
  • MARITIMER3
    I'm sorry you had to cancel your break, Evelyn. I know you and your DH really needed it. It's wonderful that you are doing your best to honour your father's wishes, but can you realistically keep this up indefinitely? Are there any group home situations in your area that would work for your father? More homey than a nursing home perhaps.

    Thinking of you, and praying that you have the strength to continue.

    Gail
    1537 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    I am just so sorry. It is taxing. **SIGH** ((((HUGS))))
    1539 days ago
  • MADAMES
    There is no support for the elderly here either. My parents did take out a long term care insurance policy in the 1980s, and it reimburses about 30% of our costs. My parents lived their lives like it was always The Great Depression, and they saved every dime they could. We are watching their savings fly out the window week after week paying for caregivers. Their wish was to never have to go to a nursing home; I am trying to honor that, but I am running low on stamina.

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    1539 days ago
  • PATRICIA-CR
    There's no support whatsoever here to care for the elderly. I have my mom directly in my house emoticon I know there will be a point in which I won't be able to handle her anymore...

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    1539 days ago
  • RAINBOWCHOC
    ......which is why my weight is going up, back on bp meds and no time to write my own blog!!

    Sorry things are tough for you at the moment but I'm sure you wouldn't walk away from this challenge. It makes hula-hooping seem a luxury!!

    I hope you have a good Thanksgiving and a peaceful Christmastime

    big hugs
    Sandra
    1539 days ago
  • CAPECODLIGHT
    I am so sorry for your troubles and the anxiety you must feel over the care of your father.
    Unfortunately, when laws are passed to fix a problem, it can create even a bigger problem.
    I had a lesser problem in my mother-in-law's case. She was in an assisted living facility for dementia that gave no medical or assistive care. So, as her illness progressed we had to hire private caregivers to help her overnight and getting up in the morning. We had quite a bit of trouble getting suitable people. One even allowed a "friend" to visit during the night - entering a security locked building with the ability to walk around where he chose! Needless to say, that did not go over well.
    May you find some peace in knowing you are able to allow your dad to stay in his home for as long as he can. And, the minute his caregiving scenario has stabilized to your satisfaction take that "me" time with your husband. Caregivers need to remember to take care of themselves!
    1539 days ago
  • SOOZIEQUE55
    Sending prayers your way as you work with the new caregivers. I hope you are able to get a few days off once everything settles down. emoticon emoticon
    1539 days ago
  • GODSCHILD2_2011
    A lot of people don't have a clue how physically, emotionally and mentally draining it is on the caregiver. I never gave it a thought until I had to care for my mother the last year of her life. I was still working full time and my whole life for the time period was consumed with caring for my mother.

    Unfortunately, in the state that I live in, I was told she didn't qualify to get assistance for a caregiver and to make matters worse, I could get very little help from other family members with caring for her.

    I relied on my faith in God to help me get through all that I had to face and deal with as the caregiver. I look back on it and now, and even though it was really rough while I was going through it, I feel it was a honor for me to care for my mother in her final year of life.

    Hang on in there and know that you're not alone. I don't know what your stance is on prayer but it really helped me get though each day.

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    1539 days ago
  • CLAIREINPARIS
    My goodness Evelyn, I am so sorry to read how horrible this is! I didn't know it was going so bad... I don't know what to say, I know it is exhausting and it reminds me of terrible times before my mother went to nursing home and my father could hardly sleep at all caring for her. As you know we had some horrible times finding the good nursing home then, but now she is so well cared for I cannot even imagine what we would have done otherwise. We would never have had the means to employ all these people, not to mention all the equipment, cameras, etc. This sounds crazy!
    I think we all need to find what is right for us, what we can cope with. I really hope you can take care of yourself soon, you sound like you won't cope with much more.
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    1539 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    have a nice day
    1539 days ago
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