Tell Us: What's Your Caregiving Stress (Day 3)?

Denise

Tell Us: What's Your Caregiving Stress (Day 3)?

Denise
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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My stress level today is rising due to more issues with my father's health. You see he has been stable for so long that I've drifted into complacency. Now, he is having daily issues - chest heaviness, spiky blood pressure, extreme fatigue, digestion problems, etc. You never know what the symptoms will be on a given day. Obviously, he has moved to another phase of care and we are going to have to make more changes in before the end of the year.

Anita Henson

My stress today, DECISIONS! My parents were the decision makers when we were young, and reversing the roles is not the easiest task. First, how do I approach Dad about giving Mom more time to get dressed. She rushes to get out of the bedroom before Dad comes out of the bathroom. She has approximately 20 min to get dressed by herself. When I first arrived, she could put on her get dressed and put on her makeup before leaving the room. She took her makeup out of the room one day and stood at the counter in the kitchen and looked in the mirror of the compact to put on the makeup. She was steadying herself with her \"bad\" arm as she wobbled and tried to steady herself to stand. Her arm started hurting because she was leaning on it so hard. I bought a mirror on a stand and placed it on the dining room table so she could sit and put on her makeup. Every once in a while, she has trouble putting on her clothes and runs behind and she rushes as best she could. Result: wheezing and blood pressure rises. I decided to stay in the room the last two days to calm her down and slow her down. She hasn't wheezed in two days and her blood pressure is steady. Dad knows I am in the room and will wait til we leave before getting out of the bathroom. I was stressed because I didn't know how he would react because Mom was taking too long. \nSecond: Mom's birthday is coming up. How do I approach Dad without his temper rising with my question. On the way to golf I made the decision. I asked him if he picked out the 3 menu items for the party at a local restaurant. He said steak, chicken, and a Mexican plate. Yes, but which menu item. He repeated them. After the discussion (which he refers to as arguing) we decided he should give me the menu with the choices highlighted. \nThird: at the end of the day, my brother said Dad had been talking to someone at another location reserving the room for the party. Dad had asked me to help reserve the room at the other restaurant asking for the 3 menu items a month ago. I was asked to invite members of Mom's family. Of course, I was confused when my brother told me what Dad was doing. How do I ask him? How do I mention it to him without raising his blood pressure and causing another discussion (argument)? Brainstorming with my brother I decided to leave a post-it with a reminder about the menu selection on his keyboard. \nFourth: Dad comes into my room after putting Mom to bed and asks if we could talk. He let me know about the reservation and his reasoning behind it as if I needed one. I told him it was his to plan and I am only doing what he asked me to when he changed his mind. It's his decision. The discussion went well, but as my oldest brother said, \"we've been walking on eggshells with Dad all our lives. \nMy day has been mentally exhausting. After everyone is settled for the night, a scheduled Wed. phone call to my husband, with whom I can talk freely, was refreshing.