Caregivers, often do you hear those words from family members trying to justify avoiding your loved one. For refusing to help even long enough to give you a few hours or days of respite? They may feel that upon hearing those reasons we will understand that they would like to help but they simply can’t.
Unfortunately, what they are really saying is:
“It’s too hard and it doesn’t matter how it affects anyone else. It’s not about Mom or Dad. It’s not about our brother or sister. It’s about me and how I feel.”
Some common comments and my responses follow. As the Imperfect Caregiver I speak for you so you know you are not alone.
“Mom doesn’t know me anymore so why bother visiting? When I do come by all she does is repeat the same stories over and over. It’s boring and irritating. I can’t take it.
“I feel that way sometimes too. That’s why I need your help. Why can’t you understand that?”
“She was up all night for the past two weeks and you desperately need sleep? Take a nap during the day when she does. What’s your problem?”
“It’s not safe. If she wakes before I do she could leave the house and wander away or decide to cook something and forget it on the stove causing a fire. Could you nap under those conditions?”
“He’s combative and accuses you of stealing from him? What did you do to set him off? What do expect me to do about it?”
“I didn’t set him off. The disease did. I don’t expect you to fix it. I need you to understand what this terrible disease is doing to him.”
She seemed fine to me the last time I visited.”
“If that’s true and she is fine,why don’t you come more often? Why are you too busy to give me a break?
“My father would never use language like that! Why would you say such things about him? I think you’re the one who has a problem.”
“Yes, I have a problem. It’s trying to deal with all this and you too. Would you like me to tape record him for you?
“A nursing home? Never! I promised Mom we would never do that to her.”
“We also promised to take care of her. When did “we” become only me?”
“If things are so bad put her in a nursing home. What do you mean you need help to pay for it? What about her social security and Medicare?”
“The facilities that would take her for what little she receives are full with long waiting lists and you clearly haven’t seen what goes on in those places. Someone would have to be there every day to make sure she got the care she needs and we know who that would be.”
Feel free to share some of the comments you hear from family members in the comment section below. It helps us all to know we are not alone.
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