Today we will look at resources for some of the most common problems I have noticed most caregiver’s going through. This list is by no means complete, merely a few suggestions that might help.
Needing a break: That is a biggie. You absolutely must get away from it all from time to time. I am assuming you have already asked family to help out and they are doing all they can/will.
Can you afford a sitter? Yes? Hire one! Even if it is only half a day a week, do it. Cannot afford a sitter? Call your local Senior Citizen’s Center or Council on Aging or whatever they call it in your area. They can often provide that service for a few hours a week.
Look around your community. See what services are available. Call one or two home care agencies and hospices. The nurse’s have a Rolodex of sitters and resources.
What about you parent’s social circle? Has your dad got a friend or two that could come visit? (Please substitute your own spiritual practice here). Could your mom’s Sunday School class come do a Bible study with her? Is there a teenager who is willing to help in exchange for you helping them with math or teaching them the piano?
Ah, ha! Another list. What can you barter for services? Tired of cooking? Get with a friend and exchange cooking one or two nights a week. You cook on Monday’s and she will cook on Thursday. If you know someone else who is caring for an elderly parent, schedule a play date. Take your parent over to the friend’s house, they visit, you visit or go shopping, next time it is at your house and you serve the punch and cookies.
Is your major problem your parent’s behavior? Does your local mental health center, hospital, anybody, offer classes on handling difficult patients? Perhaps you need some help in setting limits, practice with friends. Also check local support groups, especially those supporting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Is their behavior endangering themselves or others? Get professional help.
Ask everyone! People love to help others. It makes them feel good about themselves. They do not want to be taken advantage of so you have a long list and spread it around.
Need something fixed or done? Salesmen. One of the things I miss about living in town is door-to-door salesmen. I have had them help me move furniture, put together my son’s swing set, teach me to change the light in my ceiling fan, among other things.
My mom taught me to love telemarketers. When they call asking for me she either tells them I am in some exotic country for a year studying some bizarre species of plant/animal and leaving her alone to fend for herself, and she is helpless and on and on she goes. Or I am touring Europe, like I have nothing better to do when she needs me here to wait on her. If they ask for her she will tell them all her problems and a few she doesn’t have but sound really good.
There you go. Tell your woes to salespeople and telemarketers! And you used to think those people were annoying. Get creative. Now take your lists, go to your friends and instead of bemoaning your stress, brainstorm solutions.
You might also want to consider a professional to help you figure out solutions. There are coaches who have been where you are and can really help you. They understand what you are going through and can give you objective guidance, something friends often can not do. You have more resources than you realize. And your friends have resources. You don’t have to do this alone nor should you. Allow people to bless you.