Tell Us: What's Today's Caregiving Stress (Day 1)?


Tell Us: What's Today's Caregiving Stress (Day 1)?

As you may know, I’ve been collecting data about your caregiving stress, the overlooked epidemic in our communities. During a recent webinar, The Family Caregiver’s Stress, I shared the current results of our ongoing survey and share thoughts about what’s needed to minimize the stress.

We know that caregiving stress can be ongoing. I also believe that caregiver stress is constantly changing, that what stresses you on Monday is replaced by a different stressful situation on Tuesday. To show the constant and changing face of caregiving stress, I’d love for you to tell us about each day’s caregiving stress over a period of five days. Your stories about your day’s caregiving stress will make our data about your caregiving stress that much more compelling.

In our comments section, below, tell us about the stress you’re feeling today.

(I’d love for you to share your experiences in our two two-minute surveys. In the first survey, please tell us how you rate your stress. In our second survey, please tell us how your stress impacts your health and your day.)

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Anita Henson

Today, it's 3 min to midnight MST, I had so much to do and I forgot to comb Mom's hair. I had just returned from a 3 day visit with my husband and I am fortunate to have a brother staying with Mom and Dad when I am away. Upon my return, I found out that Mom had fallen and Dad had diarrhea the night before. My brother had to call the paramedics to take care of Mom and he also had to take care of the clean-up in their room. Today was Dad's golf day. I drive them everywhere. Mom and I took him to the golf course and r\nwe returned home to meet the \"cleaning crew\" which consists of a husband and wife who mainly do carpet cleaning, but he is a great handyman and she is very thorough as she does the cleaning I don't have time for. I stripped their bed for the laundry and instructed them on what I needed done in the bedroom. He \"washed the carpet\" and they put the protective cover back on the mattress. Mom and I then rushed back to the golf course to get Dad. Mom couldn't keep her thoughts together and was confused the entire morning. She slept on the way to the golf course and napped on the way back. On Mondays, Mom and Dad go to the local bakery for coffee and Dad's favorite cinnamon roll. The handicap parking is at the end of the strip mall and Mom can't walk that far so I am usually pushing her in her rollator/walker. \n Their friend usually meets Dad and they talk about sports back in the day. Dad is a retired sports writer and writes a column for the weekly online newspaper. 4 hours after leaving the house we arrive home and they take a break. After their \"break/nap\" Mom edits Dad's column while he takes a shower. The column is submitted on Tuesday each week. While Mom is working on his column, I start dinner. I started the Spanish rice and Mom joined me when she finished editing. She does the seasoning because I can never do it correctly. It has been difficult for her to stand for very long in one spot, so I am monitoring the rice as it is cooking. I finally combed Mom's hair as the rice was simmering. After dinner I have time to relax but I have to get the bed clothes out of the dryer and make the bed before they go to sleep and I relaxed too long. I was able to do it before they went to bed, Mom first at 7:30 and Dad later at 9:30. I stay close listening in case Dad needs me. All the while my brother is sleeping since he was gone most of the night and morning. After Dad goes to bed I can relax, but I still have to finish unpacking and take care of some online bills/banking. Once the chores, business, and caretaking is finished I am mentally and physically exhausted. I have not eaten all day and don't have the energy to get take-out or cook something for myself. I am not a fan of my parents eating habits. This is more difficult than teaching ever was! I have two very active and alert 90+ parents who have to be watched and helped as they move very slowly through their daily routine. I have been here 1 1/2 years and every day is a challenge as I experience the slow decline in their health. Some days are more stressful than others and I have had worse days. It is now 30 minutes into Day 2. May the stress be less.

Fortunately, my stressors today are not from my father. My primary stress is environmental. My kitchen sink is leaking badly (think fountain of Trevi) and I'm now waiting for the plumber. The secondary stress is time-related. I spent this morning clearing out the area around and under the sink to facilitate repairs & cleanup which has left me adjusting to a \"new\" kitchen\" while trying to cook meals. The time expended on the kitchen clear out was time taken from my home business. Third stress is now I'm behind on my work To Dos. Today and tomorrow are the only days this week when I can focus on work as the rest of the week are Dad days (appointments, tests). He had another cardiac episode recently and now may have kidney cancer hence a tsunami of new appointments. \r\n\r\nCaregiving = Long days, shortened nights, grit-your-teeth patience and lots of daily adjustments. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

My mother's new complaint is that she 'doesn't see anyone all week', although we spent Monday afternoon with her (her birthday) and at least three other people called in to do things for her, and the family took her out for lunch yesterday. She is developing a habit of twisting the truth to suit her view of things, i.e. by telling my brother that my husband had refused ever to take her shopping again when all we'd said was that he wouldn't be visiting as often because he's busier now (and sick of being treated like an errand boy). \n\nSo today's main stress is not knowing whether we're doing enough or too much for her and how to defend myself from her constant carping comments_mysql.