Caregiver Stress

I Am a Rock

A few years ago, I shared with a friend that I was going through one of those "challenging times" that life throws at us. She looked at me and said, "You don't need to be a rock you know."
I replied, "Yes, I do. I'm the Queen of Rocks."
A brief argument ensued about which of us was tougher.
I've been trying to write my February article all month but it has been difficult. My mom passed away peacefully on January 18th and I had the honour of being with her. I was her caregiver for over 8 years.
Today as I think about most of my close friends, I find I am surrounded by "rocks".
Linda's mom is in hospital awaiting placement in a nursing home. She has dementia and is in kidney failure. The doctor is not pleased that the family has decided against a pacemaker for their elderly mom.
Lisa and Tom are caring for three elderly parents. They've just moved Lisa's dad to assisted living. Tom's mom and dad are in the same facility but his dad is in deteriorating health with dementia and Parkinson's.
Judy just lost her 66 year old husband to cancer after two years of treatment including stem cell transplants that required them to live in another city for months.
Sharon's dad has terminal cancer and is now at home with palliative care. He has been caring for her mom who has dementia. Sharon goes over at least twice a day making meals and checking in with her parents and staff. Sharon herself has recently been diagnosed with MS.
Catherine has been her mother's caregiver for six years since her dad passed away. Her mother is legally blind and is in early stage dementia. I'm particularly concerned about Catherine because I see the signs of a serious depression common in long term caregivers.
But we are not rocks. We are human beings. When the weight of love, duty, guilt, and responsibility becomes too much it is NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS. It's just time to call for reinforcements. Talk to your friends who've been there. Join a support group. Find a counsellor. Tell your doctor. Don't try to go it alone. Ask for support before you are crushed.

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