In most cases – yesterday!
In my many years as an owner of a Domestic Referral Agency I see most family caregivers engaged in all the responsibility with an aging parent or spouse. It’s what you are suppose to do as family, because otherwise how do you show your love?
80% of the families I help don’t call until they have succumb to exhaustion, mentally and physically, also known as caregiver burnout. I want to tell you a story about a close friend to me, because of the experience getting her relief in caring for her husband. It’ll help show how you know when it’s time to hire a professional caregiver.
The Good Life
Doris and Jim found each other later in life after they had flourishing families and had lost their significant others to disease. I’ve always applauded them for not giving up, and finding joys in life after their losses. They enjoyed most of their time traveling the country visiting family, always on the go and happy. They became best of friends and would remind anyone of a high school couple, maybe just a little older. Jim was maybe 4 years older than Doris and approaching 82 soon.
Jim had some heart problems earlier in his years, had surgeries and changed his diet, and was living a pretty active, well-balanced life. Doris For the most part had lived a very healthy life disease free. They would usually start their day with a 45 minute walk , go to breakfast at CoCo’s and walk back. They did this for many years.
Jim started to lose some of his memory skills, brushing it off as old age and not thinking much of it. Soon after he began to forget his way home driving from out of town. Doris, concerned, forced him to see a Neurologist. After testing, The Doctors told him he has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. This was a rough realization for the couple, as it is for all that I meet. This disease treats everyone differently and moves at a different pace. With Jim, it was abrupt. Within 8 months he had not recognized regular friends in his life and was showing poor judgement and motor skills.
Doris was proactive in planning for what was to come in her knowledge of the disease. She studied and stayed up long nights trying to figure out how she was going to help. She was determined to make a prolonged effort to keep Jim from losing more function. When I spoke with her, the most damaging concern was Jim forgetting their time together. Along with medication and counseling, she got him to work with puzzles and challenge his mind. This seemed to plateau the degeneration, but not for very long.
I found that she was devoting 80% of her day giving Jim what he needed. She chose to feed him at home for fear of being embarrassed in public. The traveling ended, they missed out on family events and her social life ended. I see this happening everywhere, especially when elderly couples are so far from family. You never want to feel as if you’re inadequate in caring for your spouse. You may never stop, and sadly you may not think of your own health. Jim was totally dependent on Doris within 2 years time.
Now on the verge of a physical and mental breakdown, I saw Doris needing some real help. The endless task were wearing on her. I made some suggestions about Home Care earlier in our relationship, although the focus on cost quickly dismissed the possibility. I decided to introduce her to someone that would help her with Jim’s accidents and just show her how easy it is to allow someone to take small responsibilities from her. She was apprehensive for a long while. Then came the phone call……” I can’t get him off the floor!”
Crying and obviously defeated, she allowed me to help refer a Professional caregiver. So often the caretaker or spouse will refuse to accept losing the ability to be the “Rock” in the relationship. Home caregivers, in these circumstances, are like angels sent from heaven. I like to relate this –breaking point– to running a relay race. You Cannot win without relying on the rest of the team, if you try to run the whole race yourself, you will come in last place. If you don’t have a team to trust, the care you give isn’t at its best, and you and your loved one will suffer.
Tools for Success
You need tools to be successful in caring for your loved ones, certainly hiring a professional caregiver will give you hope and glorious relief. They will be able to teach you techniques for safer and more productive care, as well as achieving time for yourself. Doris has been able to enjoy her position as wife and caretaker. By giving the basic tasks of life to a professional it also allows Jim to delight in his wife’s company. Most importantly, they are now able to balance their traveling with an extra hand. Something that she had thought impossible, is pleasurable again.
Don’t try taking all care responsibility on yourself. Frequent “burnouts” are common, Hire a professional caregiver. You need to be able to separate yourself and be a concerned family member. Love Right Home Care is a good example of quality, reliable and affordable home care options in San Diego. Call Today if you are experiencing the same defeat that Doris experienced. There is relief and it’s the best choice. Feel the difference a professional can make in your life.
It’s Time To Hire a Professional Caregiver
- When you’re exhausted and cannot seem to accomplish what you need as basic daily tasks, either for yourself or a loved one.
- When you’re not leaving the house as much as you’d like.
- Your parents aren’t taking good enough care for themselves.
- When the thought of cooking a meal requires too much energy, so you start to skip them.
- When you’re hit with tough news from a disease or cancer diagnosis.
- when it’s hard to walk and there’s a threat of a fall.
- When you don;t have family, friends or neighbors to rely on.
- When you avoid showering due to fear of slipping.