Balancing the Happiness Scale

Results of a new study say that your care recipient prefers you as the caregiver over a trained professional. Your care recipient is happiest when a family member provides care.

But, you already know that. You know that because of the resistance you receive when you try to bring in professional help.

This study was interesting to me because of the perspective it took. The study asked the question of care recipients: Are you happier receiving care from a family member or from a paid professional?

Asking just that question, though, overlooks an important factor: Can the family caregiver afford emotionally to be the only one who provides care?

I think it’s important to know that your care recipient loves that you are involved in care. But, it’s also important to remember that one person providing care to a frail elderly person with multiple chronic illnesses is a tall order. To go it alone is tough. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice a little of your care recipient’s happiness to ensure you both make it through the long haul of caregiving.

The bottom line: Take turns sharing the happiness. Your care recipient is happy when you provide care. You’re happy when you have the option to hire a professional to lessen your load. It’s a great way to keep a scale balanced.

Related Articles

Rather Than Fight, Be Flexible

Finding, Then Keeping, the Happiness

My Care Recipient Won’t Cooperate

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

3 thoughts on “Balancing the Happiness Scale

  1. Dorothy

    I came upon this website by searching “caregiving relatives.” The posting by Denise spoke to me. I am the sole caregiver for my mother, age 94, who lives with me. Her health is good, for which I am thankful, but I’m just now going to try leaving her with a professional caregiver while I go away for four days. She does not think she needs anyone to care for her, and I can’t leave her alone. I particularly liked the statement, “Share the happiness.”

  2. Avatar of Denise

    Hi Dorothy–I hope you enjoy your time away. Let us know how you both do. :) Thanks for finding us; I look forward to getting to know you better. Best, Denise

  3. William Ward

    You are so correct in saying “one person providing care to a frail elderly person with multiple chronic illnesses is a tall order”.
    Equally, I have learned the importance of sharing the happiness. My Father does indeed prefer to have me be the one that tends to all of his needs rather than paid professionals (my Mother was the same way), and I cannot say that if I were in the same situation I would want it any different.

    There is, however, a balancing act that needs to happen. With our situation, Dad knows when I am not happy. If I were to go to him to take care of some of his needs, and I was noticibly unhappy about it, it would bother him. It would start to weigh on him and he would start to go down a very negative path filled with guilt. Knowing this, I must ensure that I have at least some release and relief.

    Today, for instance, is repit care day. I receive this service from the VA twice a month, and it’s a 6 hour break. My Father does not like this very much. If he knows I am going to a movie or to the mall or whatever, he wants to come along. As hard as it is, I very gently insist that this is a time for me to get way.

    For me, and for now, this is enough. It is, however, essential to this relationship of love and reponsibilty and without it, we would both start to feel an immediate strain.

    We are caregivers, and we are people. We know our limits. Don’t confuse a limit for a level of difficulty or an inconvenience. See a limit is where you just cannot go any more, prepare for it, and when you reach it do what’s necessary to keep yourself loving and appreciative of the time you have and your abilities to do what is needed.

    Remember the words of Mother Theresa;
    “I know God will never give me more than I can handle but sometimes I wish he didn’t trust me so much”.


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