Caregiver Stress - Are We Blaming the Victim?

There is a lot of well-intentioned advice about “caring for the caregiver”. As much as I agree that it helps to take better care of myself, somehow all this advice makes me feel that I am in some way to blame for my stress level. If only I got more sleep, ate healthier, exercised more, I should be able to cope, right?

Wrong.  If families and friends “provide about 80 % of all home care to seniors living in the community and up to 30% of services to seniors living in institutions"[i] shouldn't our contribution be recognized?

Two recent publications, Rising Tide: the Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society and the Senate Committee Report on Aging state that caregivers need information, training, easy access to resources and help to navigate systems. Respite and financial support are also recommended.

If I think if I had all that support, I’d have more time to sleep, prepare healthy meals, exercise and maybe… go for a massage.

[i] National Advisory Council on Aging, 1999 and Beyond, Challenges of an Aging
Canadian Society, Ottawa, 1999

1 comment :

  1. My father is 86 years of age and as of two months ago he lost most of his mobility because of severe pain in his leg that had a hip replacement operation 5 or 6 years ago. Dad is a very independent individual and has always gone about living his life on his own terms without requiring or asking for help from anybody.

    Since the pain started in January of 2011 Dad has been required to get around with either a walker with wheels or a wheel chair. When he leaves his apartment to go shopping or for a bite to eat in a restaurant he has to have someone with him to ensure that he will be able to get in and out of vehicles and into buildings.

    The adjustment Dad has made in such a short time is huge. Because of the pain he experiences most of the time his energy level is very low. He has told me that he is frustrated with his progress in even opening and dealing with his mail. He will make plans to complete some task and then just as he begins, the pain kicks in and robs him of any energy or ambition. Thus nothing gets done while he deals with the pain.

    I have found that seeing my Dad in pain all the time, and how dependent he is to be a very difficult thing to deal with. How do I deal with it? I remember Dad in my prayers and ask for help as I do what I can to make Dad comfortable and find the help he needs.

    I think the Government needs to provide funding to allow people like Wendy Sutton to maintain her web site and to provide training and information to people who are helping their parents as they age.

    Thank you Wendy.