These are just some of the many responses we received
from our Editorial of
10/18/06 - The New
As crazy as this
may sound, my best tip is to ask for the help you
need. Don't hint. Don't whine. Don't blame.
Don't bring up past issues. Be very specific about
what you need, when you need it, why you need it,
why your loved one needs it. Put it in the form of
an "I" statement, i.e. "I need help getting mother
to her doctor's appointment." I know from
experience that sometimes I think my family should
know to help without my asking, and maybe they
should. Don't wait, don't wish, simply ask. If
they say no this time, ask again. If they can't do
what you need, ask if they have ideas of how to get
aspect to getting help. At the Nursing Home where
my husband is, there is a gentleman who was a
resident there while he went through
rehabilitation. He became friends with a woman who
has MS and has very little contact with her family.
So he got well, and decided to become a volunteer so
he could have contact with this woman and see that
she gets to different activities to her liking. She
is totally disabled, has to be fed, etc. He sees
her as a vital, caring person, with a great sense of
humor. Staff says she looks forward to his visits.
BUT WHEN her family comes on the premises he isn't
allowed by them any where near her. She's not
allowed to speak to him or even tell him good-bye.
I've seen him almost cry when the family has abused
him because of their own lack of caring for her. I
pray that if I'm ever in that situation that there
will be someone like him to care about me. We all
love to see her smiles and love to see him feed her
sweets that they have won playing Bingo. It's not a
love affair, its compassion in its truest form. This
man also has two other residents that he cares
deeply for and sees to their needs during
activities. He spreads joy and laughter in a place
where it is so needed 24/7.
I am blessed to
be the caregiver to both my parents. They moved in
with me 4 years ago. Receiving family support from
my siblings has always been a problem for me.
However, I began calling my siblings and asking them
when the best time was for them to have my parents
visit for a couple weeks. I donít ask them IF they
can take them, I ask them WHEN is the best
time. They never refuse me and when my parents
return home, my siblings have a much better
understanding and appreciation of what I do.
tradition of natural consequences AND with total
regard to the sensitivity and well-being of the care
receiver: take your charge to your sibling's
important meeting at their office and ...drop the ma
or pa or one-in-need off!
Let the faculty
of peers have a blast of compassion and let them
take a sniff of soiled Depend. Let a sib choke and
have to think!
This isn't meant
to be mean at all. It is also in the nature of what
all of us have experienced in ER's--you have to
poke your kid to scream loudly to get attention or
show blood if you don't want to wait four hours.
Also in the nature of having to barf on your boss or
even a nurse to really let them know that you are
sick---just as you have told them-- in attempt to
use your words, as they say in preschool.
I am not being cocky. I'll leave you with this: A
man I know is a emergency room surgical nurse. He
says, "Everything that comes out of the body is
beautiful." Now, don't you want to have him for
your caregiver? We can all adopt that attitude and
spread cheer, all the while someone is relieving
themselves of unneeded contents of their body.
Oh no! One more
thing. A fifth grader in my art class let a fart
one day, of course leaving the room on the floor in
their internal joy but actually sat obediently in
their chairs while I blabbed about something. I
looked at the now-gasfree guy and thanked him for
not exploding. And then the kids fell on the floor,
for real. You see, there is a time and a place for
I believe one
drop-off trip to the biz meeting with Depended Ma or
Pa would bring out tremendous compassion in
coworkers, rather than disgust or horror. The only
brat who may suffer is the original neglector. And,
After many conversations and a lot of anger at the
conversations being well-received but basically no
changes made, my sister and I have sort of given up
expecting active involvement from our brothers.
Although it still angers me at times, I find that
it's easier to just accept their limitations. In
the long run, it relieves some of my stress. My
mother is still able to live independently with a
lot of services and help from my sister and I. My
sister and I live very close to her so it is
"convenient" for us to be the ones called on to do
what needs to be done. We both work full time jobs
and my sister has also gone back to college. Our
brothers live about an hour away but it's not
"convenient" for them to visit very often. Of
course our mother thinks this is ok because they are
all so busy! My sister and I have decided that if
they can't do their share by relieving us on a
weekend occasionally, then they can pay. When Mom
needs something my sister and I can't take care of
such as handyman jobs, it gets done and my brothers
pay for it.. Our Mom thinks it's great that her
sons call her fairly regularly and always "take good
care" of her by paying for whatever she needs and
they make sure she has things she wants. I work in
aging services and co-lead classes for caregivers to
help avoid "burnout" and I have shared this story
many times. My sister and I accept our brothers'
limitations in the caregiving area and have adjusted
our thinking accordingly. It keeps the family on
good terms, allows my brothers to do what they can
and gives our Mom a secure feeling knowing that she
will always have whatever help she needs. J.S.