The Problem with Caregiving
by Third Sister
The problem with care giving is that nobody cares about it except the people who are actually doing it. Think about it. How many elderly parents receiving care do you think are reading this blog, or any other blog or any information source dealing with caregiver issues? How many uninvolved siblings or other family members are reading them? Very few. They have no idea, and they don't want any idea.
When I first began care giving for my Mom, I asked my two elder sisters, who live farther away, to at least educate themselves about elder care issues. Care giving issues, housing issues, funding issues, government programs, etc. That kind of help they could provide without every lifting a finger for Mom. Do you think they did any of it? Of course not. Why? Because they don't see it as their problem. I actually forwarded to my elder sisters a few links from some of the entries on this blog that I found exceptionally compelling and well-written. They responded with puzzlement. They couldn't see what this has to do with us. Apparently, it has nothing to do with them in their minds.
This attitude leaves the total burden on me. Not only the burden of caring for Mom but the burden of educating myself and them, the burden of seeking out whatever resources and help are available, every last bit of it.
The biggest conflict in my family to date has been around the issue of encouraging Mom to do things for herself if she can, instead of always relying on me, and figuring out how to help Mom be more independent with mobility assistance, etc. Of course this is my job too since I'm the one who will bearing the burden otherwise.
My eldest sister, in fact, took me to task for complaining about Mom's more unreasonable demands, and accused me of acting like a martyr for giving in to them. But when I ask for help in showing Mom how she could do these things for herself and persuading her to do so, I'm told it's my job to do that. I'm told I should just say no if I don't want to do something Mom asks.
Right, try that when it's your own Mom. Saying no to Mom is even more stressful than doing whatever she is asking me to do. Plus then it's my job to come up with an alternative for her, one that she'll be happy with. They should stand in my shoes for a week and then accuse me of acting like a martyr.