I recently read the November 10, 2020, DailyCaring.com article:
OVERCOME 3 EXCUSES FROM RELATIVES WHO AVOID CAREGIVING
Upon reading the article, I thought to myself: Caregiving really is a timeless topic. I have blogged about this before. So, I did a little exploring and—yep—I had. On March 2, 2014, I posted It’s in the Book! It featured Carol Bradley Bursack’s article: TOP 3 EXCUSES FROM SIBLINGS WHO DON’T HELP WITH CAREGIVING.
Although the three excuses listed in each article are not duplications, the general point is the same. As stated in the DailyCaring article: Caregivers need more help and support. Many caregivers take on more responsibility for their older adult than others in their family. In AARP’s 2020 report, half of all family caregivers said that nobody else provided unpaid care. Caring for an older adult by yourself can be exhausting and damaging to health. But getting family to help is often a challenge. Getting a better understanding of why family members aren’t doing their part helps you find ways to get them to participate in caregiving.
OVERCOME 3 EXCUSES FROM RELATIVES WHO AVOID CAREGIVING
- They think you don’t need any help
It may look like you’ve got everything under control and don’t need help. Those who aren’t involved in day-to-day care have no idea of how much caregiving entails.
- They don’t know how to help
They respond better to requests and to assigned specific tasks.
- They’re scared of doing a bad job
Firsthand experience is more effective.
More exposure = more comfortable
TOP 3 EXCUSES FROM SIBLINGS WHO DON’T HELP WITH CAREGIVING
- I don’t have time
Probably the most often used excuse implies that you do.
- I don’t have the money
But that does not preclude finding a way to pitch in and help out.
- I Can’t Bear to See Mom/Dad Like That
They think you like it? Day after day you watch the decline. You help them with everything, including very intimate day-to-day functions, such as toileting. Do your siblings think this step has been easy for you? It is difficult to watch a loved one’s decline–but it’s difficult for the caregiver(s), too.
Related and Relevant quotes from What to Do about Mama?
“When the initial alarm sounds, caregivers are filled with worry— maybe even fear. They kick into action to find a solution that will make it “all better.” In the attempt to gain control of the situation they become the caregiver. And things sometimes do get better, adjustments are made, and a new norm is established. But, inevitably, there is another setback, or more probably, a new crisis. Caregivers may begin to realize that they just might need some help and begin to call on those people they expect to provide that help—family. (There’s nothing like caregiving to learn about our families.)”What to Do about Mama? p. 174
The issue again is expectations—those you place on yourself. You are only human. You will make mistakes. You will lose patience. Forgive yourself. Use each “shortfall” as a learning experience. Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions; don’t internalize them. Cultivate your connection with family and friends, choosing relationships with positive people and minimizing contact with negative ones. Enlist your family to help. Make a list of all the things you do, and be specific about the help you need.What to Do about Mama? p. 179
“You don’t understand the pressures of our jobs.”What to Do about Mama? p. 13
“My mother-in-law’s decline was especially difficult for my brother-in-law; his wife made a point to express this to me very specifically. He had no confidence in his ability to be alone with her. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he saw himself as the “last bastion of propriety” in his relationship with his mother. I did understand how difficult it is to watch a loved one’s decline; his brother, after all, faced it every day. I felt, however, that was not an acceptable excuse for not assuming responsibility.”What to Do about Mama? p. 15:
The number one recommendation from the caregiver-contributors to this book is to get help. Caregivers tend to step in with their “can-do” attitudes and continue to shoulder ever-increasing responsibility until they reach the point of being crushed by the burden. So, whether you hire help, accept help, or both—just do it!What to Do about Mama? p. 170
Explore both articles for suggestions how to overcome the excuses relatives use to avoid caregiving so they’ll give you the help you need and deserve.
HOW THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF GRATITUDE REDUCE CAREGIVER STRESS DailyCaring, October 2020
This DailyCaring article discusses how gratitude is proven to reduce stress—from the point of view of CAREGIVERS having gratitude saying:
- Practicing gratitude can make you happier, lower stress, protect you from depression, help you sleep better, boost your immune system, and improve your relationships.
- Practicing gratitude doesn’t mean ignoring negative feelings or bad things in general, but recognizing the positive in your life, which is not terrible 100% of the time.
The article points out the benefits of recognizing the positive effects of gratitude:
- It helps you become more optimistic and improves your overall attitude,
- It helps you to respond in an optimistic attitude more naturally.
- It helps you focus on what you do have rather to avoid getting sucked into negativity.
The suggested method of practice gratitude is to keep a journal.
This is all well and good. But I must also suggest that care receivers and the other family members remember to show gratitude to the caregiver. Nobody is perfect in caregiving situations. Everyone gets cranky or critical and makes mistakes. But acknowledging the caregiver for their efforts goes a long way.
My husband and I were frontline caregivers for his mother for seven years. After she began to suffer recurrent falls, hospitalizations, and rehabilitations, she moved into our home. I quit my job and became her fulltime caregiver. This arrangement went well for the first two years, but then the inevitable decline began again, and the caregiving arrangement became increasingly difficult. My attempts to mitigate increasing needs were not well-received.
“Everything is for your convenience!” David and I tried to talk to her about her feelings, but I ended up leaving the room. I was really angry about her remark. I was sinking under the weight of caregiving, trying to find solutions to problems, and was accused of doing things for my own convenience!What to Do about Mama? pp. 21-22
For me, the greatest difficulty was the language used by my mother-in-law and Sandy, describing me as “selfish.” I could understand “obnoxious,” but “selfish” was unfair and demoralizing and totally undermined the progress we had made.What to Do about Mama? p. 28
Once again, our conversation felt strained. I asked Sandy if she needed to clear the air about anything else. Big mistake! She told me that she felt putting Mom in the nursing home for a respite stay was selfish on my part. She proceeded to tell me that, although David and I provided Mom with very good physical care, the emotional care we provided was terrible; in fact, it “sucked.”What to Do about Mama? p. 26
When my health had declined to the point that I needed two knee replacements, arrangements were made for my mother-in-law to move in with her daughter. I felt that I had not lived up to the commitment I had made, which was caused me a lot of anxiety. The Hospice Spiritual Advisor gave me an assignment, which is a great example to illustrate the theme of the DailyCaring article How the Positive Effects of Gratitude Reduce Caregiver Stress.
Blessings of Mom Living in Our Household
• Example set for our children. Our youngest daughter said, “Thank you, Mom, for taking care of my Grandma and being such a good example for me.”
• The grandchildren have had an opportunity to know and love Great Grandma. This was in contrast to Shelley’s comment that they really didn’t see their grandparents much growing up.
• I was able to give my mother-in-law the gift of my children and grandchildren. I am proud of the love, support, and appreciation they show her.
• I had the opportunity to demonstrate to my mother-in-law and siblings-in-law my appreciation for being a part of their family since I was eighteen years old. I was also able to show thanks to my parents-in-law for providing support in our times of need. Most of all, I was able to show gratitude for their assistance and encouragement in helping to provide our children with their college educations. This was to be my gift to my all of my in-laws.What to Do about Mama? p. 35