So how’s your Mom?

The longer you are in the role as non-paid family caregiver, the more people will only see you as that caregiver.  Partially because this job has now completely consumed your thoughts, your free time, your time to read or exercise and your overall life.  Partially because, whether you realize it or not, this is the main topic you seem to reference every time you see these people.  It’s not your fault, it is just all consuming.

We are an instant society.  Everything we do now seems to happen almost instantaneously.  We can instantly find answers on the internet.  We can get pictures printed from our camera in as little as an hour.  We can order a pizza and it shows up at our door.  We can think of a movie we want to watch and it instantly shows up on our television.  We can do something stupid and text it to a friend, only to have it instantly go viral on You Tube.  We are a society programmed for “instant.”  Unfortunately, in the world of caregiving for your elderly loved one, things can move much more slowly.  If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but they are in good health physically, they may live for another ten to twelve years, while still needing constant care.  You might have a loved one that’s recovered from a stroke.  They need your help, but they are not departing anytime soon.

Whatever the case, if you have cared for your loved one for more than a year, family and friends will not know how to connect with youIt’s not that they don’t care, but in our instant society . . .  this should be over by now, right?  .  This couldn’t possibly still be going on, right?

It truly seems insensitive, but If they are not caregivers themselves, they can’t possibly know what you are going through.  They can’t possibly know that you are exhausted.  They can’t possibly know your job is now in jeopardy, they can’t possibly know you’ve started to spend your own retirement money to care for your un-prepared elderly loved.  . . .  . They just couldn’t possibly know and it isn’t their fault . . . but it’s not your fault either!!  It just the way it is!!

The next time you see these friends or family members, make a point to not talk about the details of your caregiving.  Oh, they will ask the infamous question, “How’s your Mom?”  Politely respond, that she is doing fine and then remind them of your other talents and interests (even if you haven’t had the chance to engage in any of them recently).  Spend five minutes checking in to the news before you get together.  Talk about current news topics or their job. Ask them what they have been up to.  This deflects away from the “Mom” question and still keeps the conversation alive and moving.  Challenge yourself to remain positive and optimistic during the visit, and have a glass of wine!!  One glass will ease the tension and give you a moment of respite.  A glass of wine never hurts!!

By the time you drag yourself through your garage and into your house, you will be exhausted but you will have had an hour or two of socializing with people you know and hopefully like, while not talking about your elderly loved one.  That was 120 minutes that belonged to just you . . .   and you had fun . . . and you had wine . . .  good combo . . .  Yay!  Now rest, you’ll need it!

About Carol

Carol Core, President and Founder of CarolCARE knows, first hand, what your life looks like when it comes to caring for your elderly loved one. Carol knows, because for over 12 years she was the non-paid family caregiver for her Mom, Dad and dear Uncle Earl. While trying to juggle full-time work; life as a wife, mother and grandmother; she managed the care, health, finances and safety of three elderly people.