A while ago, a woman wrote to me and asked a question. She wrote:
mother had a massive stroke 4 years ago. She is now 91. She is right
side paralyzed and cannot speak. Her prognosis is that her dementia will
only get worse. My husband and I have her at home with us with
caregivers. My problem is I get angry with her for not trying to do
anything at all for herself. I have come to realize that maybe she
cannot do anything for herself, so I need to learn to solve that problem
I feel guilty for not taking care of her myself, but she requires 24
hour care as she is totally dependent and if I did take care of her I
would have no life at all.
third problem is the stress I feel in trying to manage the caregivers. I
never wanted to be a manager and have been forced into the situation of
managing 5 people who work 9-5 in our house every day. Our house is not
guess my question is how do I handle the stress of my mother dying
right in front of my eyes everyday and the stress of having to manage 5
caregivers, schedules, payroll, training, quitting, hiring etc. The
stress of it is causing me to feel very tired. My husband and I are 60
years old. I know there are other people going through this, but what
are your hints for handling chronic/terminal illness of a close relative
in your home for a long period of time. My only thought is that I am
keeping her out of a nursing home and she is getting good care in our
home. That is the ONLY positive thing about all of this...all the rest
Thanks for your website.
This is how I answered her:
come up with a few things that might make your life easier or more
pleasant or less stressful. But before I get into that, I just want to
say that I think you're demonstrating incredible commitment doing what
you're doing instead of taking the easy way out and sending your mother
to a nursing home.
Okay, here are my suggestions:
That you take one day completely off every week, no matter what you
have to do to make that happen. Any hospice worker can tell you this: If
you don't, you will eventually burn out, and that is bad for everyone.
2. Read the The One Minute Manager.
It will help you with your managing task. It is available to listen to
on audio if you don't have time to read it. Good stuff. Very practical,
Every morning re-make your commitment that you will conduct yourself in
such a way that for the rest of your life you will feel proud of what
you did. You're sacrificing a lot here, and you should at least get the
benefit of personal pride out of it, and if you conduct yourself with
that in mind, you'll be able to honestly look back on what you did and
feel proud of yourself and glad you did it.
Meditate, even ten minutes every day. It removes some of the stress
hormones (especially cortisol and lactate) from your blood, and that
will give you some relief from the stress. You can learn to meditate if you don't already know how.
Let me know how it goes, okay?
you for your reply. I printed off a copy of your suggestions and have
them sitting on my dresser in my bedroom. I will give it a try. I think
your website is great and maybe you can add your suggestions to me to
your site. I am sure there are a lot of people out there stressing out
taking care of chronically ill loved ones in their homes. Thank you
again for your kind response.