Many people who were abused as children choose a method of caregiving that doesn’t put them in this direct care model. That is often wise. However, there are people from very dysfunctional backgrounds that turn into wonderful hands-on caregivers. Emotional healing is generally the key. If adult children in this situation are certain the family abuse cycle has been stopped, they can give direct care a chance. However, they should be vigilant about the reality that the old family skeletons could emerge from the closet. Exhaustion and frustration don’t often bring out the best in any of us.
Getting outside help can lower stress levels
Even the most loving, patient and kind caregiver is going to have times where the exhaustion and stress of constantly giving care to a live-in aging parent, added to all of his or her other duties, is too much. This is the time to get outside help.
In-home agencies provide some respite time for the primary caregiver and/or the whole family. Other visitors, whether friends, other family members or faith community based caregivers, can be the ticket to a more restful, loving relationship with live-in parents, where exhaustion does not escalate into abusive behavior. For some care help try Stephen Ministry or call your local RSVP and ask about Senior Companions. Both options are cost free. Catholic Charities in your state may be able to help, as well.
Be aware and ask for help
Don’t let your exhaustion, frustration or resentment get the better of you. There’s no shame in asking for help. If the situation is too much, it’s time for assisted living or a nursing home. That time comes in most of these live-in situations, simply because the needs of the elders becomes too great. Take care of yourself and you are taking care of your elder. Next week we’ll talk about elders abusing you.
Related article: June is Elder Abuse Awareness month