A Little Respite Care…

Why is it so hard to admit that we can’t do everything on our own? I try so hard to do everything, please everybody, and hold all the pieces together. I either am going a hundred miles an hour trying to accomplish everything or sitting on the couch in tears because I am failing. Grandpa is still not sleeping well – waking four to 12 times a night needing assistance. I can do all the daytime things, and I can do all the night time caregiving, but I can’t do them both and maintain my family.

Family has come to stay for a while. My dear husband’s brother, wife and three girls. They instantly can see that some outside assistance is needed. I want to agree, but something holds me back… 1) A need to make sure that I am not playing the “victim” role (poor me), 2) A need to prove that I can do it all (super mom, wife, and caregiver), 3) A need to take time to truly see the full picture and not just agree because I want to.

Two weeks into summer and I am ready to agree. I am home with my kids and I want to do things with them… is that selfish? Exhaustion kicking in and I want to take a nap… is that selfish? Grandpa has increased confusion and paranoia and I want someone else to deal with it… is that selfish?  Then slowly the realization that it is not selfishness, that it is not failure, that it is called regaining a healthy balance.

God provides…a friend of the family. Unemployed nurse with an 10-month-old baby. She is willing to come stay a few hours two days a week to start with. She can bring her precious little girl. She can help be in charge of Grandpa. I won’t have to ask my family or children to do it. She can help with some of his laundry and his cares.

So starting in a couple of days, I will have six hours/week that I am not responsible for the care of Grandpa. I can take my kids to the pool. I can take a nap. I can go more than 15 minutes without wondering about Grandpa. I think that is the most draining on me right now. The feeling of constantly needing to know where he is, what he is doing, and feeling like I should be doing more with him. He is so mobile at times during the day that he wanders the farm site. He is hard to keep track of. I feel like I can never fully rest or relax. So I am looking forward to a little respite, a time where I don’t have to feel guilty for taking a little “me time”.

God is good… all the time!


4 thoughts on “A Little Respite Care…

  1. Avatar of Bette

    Hi Aimee,

    Thank you for sharing how you are talking through some of the ripple effects of caregiving.

    I recently was able to enjoy some time with a friend, and some time away. So today (first day back) is an adjustment, and sad…this morning I woke to my mother hollering to me and crying. She didn’t know where she was and had managed to somehow walk out to her chair (about ten or fifteen steps) from her bed, without her walker. She hasn’t done this in years. I got her settled a bit, took a deep breath, and went to Caregiving.com. I found your post (:

    You should not feel guilty at all. You should be able to have the help you need to spend time with your kids and family.

    I’m so glad you are able to have the six hours per week (to start). Please don’t feel guilty. Guilt can preoccupy our minds, so that it is difficult to enjoy any respite at all.

    You are doing a great job with your Grandfather. He is blessed to be with you and enjoy all the activity that your house holds.

    Thank you again for posting this update.

    For you, I hope for a feeling of rest soon, less tears and am very anxious to hear how you spend those first six hours. (:

  2. Trish

    Aimee, Oh, you are not being selfish at all! You need to refuel and you need your time with the kids (and they with you). I agree with Bette and hope you post something to let us know how you are spending your wonderful six hours! Rest and enjoy!

  3. Avatar of DeniseDenise

    Hi Aimee: This insight really jumped out at me: “I can do all the daytime things, and I can do all the night time caregiving, but I can’t do them both and maintain my family.”

    I think it’s terrific to spend time with your kids. I think it’s wise to take a break and allow another to manage the confusion. And, naps are a necessity, I think. :)

    I hope the six hours of help will actually just be a starting point for you. Take as much as you get, schedule more than you think you’ll need, and enjoy every minute of those breaks. We are most productive when we work and then take breaks. That’s just what you’re doing. When you feel good, your house and its inhabitants will feel it. It’s good for everyone!

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your first six hours. Let us know when you can. :)

  4. Avatar of ejourneysejourneys

    Aimee, what a blessing that you have this respite, that the nurse has work, that your Grandfather has care from people who have had some rest and refreshment, and that your kids have time with you and you with them. That nurtures body and soul, mind and heart. Far from being selfish, it helps give you strength for the selfless life you are leading. Far from being a “victim,” you are being a Survivor, keeping yourself afloat in the midst of your circumstances. Well done! :-)


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