I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver: Meet Julie McDonough


I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver: Meet Julie McDonough

(Editor's Note: We’re putting the spotlight on the stress involved in caring for a family member or friend and we're sharing the stories of stressed-out family caregivers. Today, we introduce you to Julie McDonough; you can connect with Julie on her profile page: @mcdjulie812. Our questions and her answers follow.)

Caregiving.com: Tell us about your stress.
Julie: Overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, lost, sad, disappointed, guilt.

Caregiving.com: What have you tried to minimize the stress? Tell us about agencies you've called, organizations you've contacted, individuals you've reached out to for help.
Julie: We recently hired a CNA caregiver two days a week to help with basic household chores, doctor appointments and meds. The only individuals I've spoken with regarding my stress are the social workers at the hospital. We do have a senior center and commission on aging local to us but Dad won't go even though he is physically well enough.

Caregiving.com: How has your stress affected your family, your career and your health?
Julie: My career is basically non-existent, my health is declining rapidly. In five years I've aged 10! My stress has affected the family dynamic to the point I can't stand to be in the same room with my father, that is so unfair to him, no one deserves that.

Caregiving.com: What would help you most right now?
Julie: A winning lottery ticket! Aside from that relief from my responsibilities for my father. I've taken short weekend getaways but I always know that I have to come back home, I have to call every day I'm away, I am chained to this responsibility.

Caregiving.com: What resource has been most helpful to you?
Julie: The weekly CNA assistant. Wine.

Caregiving.com: What's it like to live with caregiving stress?
Julie: It's sheer hell and it's NOT living. It is just making it through the day with no future planning waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Julie: My father is 83 and basically in full command of his faculties. He has some mobility issues but refuses to help himself or do ANYTHING around the house. My main frustration is that he is perfectly CAPABLE but completely UNWILLING. He expects to be waited on hand and foot. He is an alcoholic, I put him in rehab for two months and he was clean and sober for a year. Now he is back to drinking so I monitor his alcohol like any of his other meds. He flat out refuses to pursue any social activities on his own and basically wants me to replace his "wife". That is creepy, sick and wrong. He is becoming manipulative and displays child-like behavior in the form of refusing to eat dinner and just being generally rude, selfish and inconsiderate. I have a male partner that lives with us and on the one hand Dad is grateful for the male companionship but on the other hand he is jealous. He keeps me off balance making it very difficult to pursue a career to ensure my long-term independence.

(We’d love to feature your story–just complete our “I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver” questionnaire. And, be sure to tell us how stressed you are in our simple survey.)

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Thank you so much for sharing your story <a href='http://www.caregiving.com/members/mcdjulie812/' rel=\"nofollow\">@mcdjulie812</a>. It's especially difficult because you're dealing with addiction and that's so tough. \r\n\r\nI wondered if Al-Anon would be an option for you? \r\n\r\nAnd, how can we best support you?