A woman wrote to Adam Khan (author of Self-Help Stuff That Works) and asked a question.
My 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
Secondly, 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.
The 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
I 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 is negative.
Thanks for your website.
Here is Adam's answer:
I've 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 are
demonstrating incredible commitment doing what you're doing instead
of taking the easy way out and sending her to a nursing home.
Okay, here are my suggestions:
1. That you take one day completely off every week, no matter
what you have to do to make that happen. Any hospice worker will
tell you that. 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,
3. 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.
4. 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. I have resources
on my web site to help you learn to meditate, if you don't already know
Let me know how it goes, okay?
Editor's note: A new article in InteliHealth
has some more good suggestions on this subject: Caregivers Cope With Stress
Thank 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.