When Family Doesn’t Help : Charlie’s Story

When someone steps up to be a caregiver, family members may say they will help when needed. Perhaps they are sincere in the moment but all too often the actual care is left to one person. Daily life takes over for those not actively involved and it is assumed the caregiver has everything under control.

That is probably true in the beginning, but as dementia advances and care becomes critical all day and night for months or years the caregiver becomes overwhelmed. Unfortunately this is also the time when too many family members refuse requests for help.

With so many living extraordinarily busy lives it is easy to to keep putting off assisting the caregiver with the promise do it next time. Sadly, next time never comes. Isolation, sleep depravation, and the inability to care for one’s own health take a toll on the caregiver leading to resentment, depression, and in some cases, the death of the caregiver.

Helping need not be difficult or time consuming. Small things can make a big difference:

  • Sit with the person needing care so the caregiver has a few minutes to shower without worry.
  • Provide a meal for the caregiver once a week.
  • Pick up groceries or prescriptions.
  • Take over lawn care.
  • Visit with your family member. Call when visits are not possible.
  • Let the caregiver know you appreciate all they do.
  • Listen to their cry for help. It could save a life.

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