The Importance of CAREGiver Stress Management
My mother passed away in Mid-December and although it was hard, it was somewhat of a relief due to her lengthy decline over the past 10 years and the stress it placed on my father. My father was her primary CAREGiver and it really took its toll on his health. For years I encouraged my Dad to bring in Home Instead CAREGivers but he declined, until she got to a point where she couldn’t be left alone. Then he brought in Home Instead which freed him up to go golfing, hang out with friends, and “recharge the batteries.” Even with professional CAREGivers coming into their home for a few hours during the day, my Dad still had far too much to do. He’d get my Mom ready in the morning and at bed time, made meals, paid the bills, took her to the doctor, and so on. My mother really needed 24-hour care, but my father insisted on only daytime CAREGivers.
During the past two years, I saw the toll the added stress was doing to my father. He’d rarely get a full night of rest which lead to forgetfulness and missing details that he’d never miss. Me and my siblings tried talking to him about his health and he did budge slightly. Last summer, for example, when my son Eliot got married in Marquette Michigan, I encouraged my father to drive with his twin sister and leave Mom at home. He agreed and had an awesome time! He danced for hours at the reception and was the life of the party! He later thanked me for encouraging him to leave Mom at home. Had she come, she would have slept during the wedding and reception and my father would have been completely stressed out.
Sometimes it’s difficult to deny what we want, in favor of what is the right thing or the healthiest thing. Sure, I would have loved to have my Mom there at my eldest son’s wedding, but I didn’t want to do that to my father. By that time my mother had declined so much that she would not have enjoyed the travel or the wedding.
One of the best resources for managing caregiving stress is our website www.CaregiverStress.Com. If you are currently caring for a loved one, I’d encourage you to check it out. Flight attendants tell us to “put your mask on first, before helping anyone else.” This advice applies to all caregivers as well. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself first, before caring for anyone else!
Jason Crane President/Owner