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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 5/13/14


I've been a caregiver for my husband who has had strokes, a heart attack, diabetes and other issues. It is hard work! He is now in a skilled nursing facility getting good care. I am crossing my fingers he can stay there. Still, lots of loneliness on my part. Friends and family come and go, some understand and some don't want to. I appreciate honest feedback too!
Kathleen in Seattle, WA


Caregivers Reply

Shared by: Sandi

Dear Judy,
Bless you for stepping in to help her. She yells from frustration that she is unable to do, maybe even some jealousy that the situation affected her physically and not you. I would guess that she also has a lot of fear about the upcoming procedure. With your feelings, you may have some caregiver burnout also if you are there 24/7 with her. Talk with her friends, so they are aware of the reality, and let them know they are her sounding board for her stress too. Think about the absolute NEED for her to go to REHAB after surgery. Social workers will be able to find a location. Those staff members will be able to evaluate her, to give you aid/assistance if she is able to go with you or needs to stay in a facility for 24 hr nursing care. This may actually be the better option for both of you. That way you can come and go and know she is receiving care she needs. Sleeping on the floor seems very extreme. there are other options . Get her a hospital bed to be in. Get yourself a twin bed or a couch or recliner. Fatally hurting yourself will not help your abilities to be a caregiver. Find out if there is Powerful Tools for Caregivers 6 week class in your area. It might help you alot. Know that you are not alone. Many of us have so many situations we try to survive through. Bless you!

Shared by: Kathy

Hi Judy,

I am not sure where your sister lives or what your relationship was like prior to her surgery/ies. However, my guess is, she in daily pain and probably resenting her health issues and being dependent. That is when we typically can take our frustrations out on those closest to us. No one deserves to be bad mouthed and especially when someone such as yourself is giving from the heart.

It sounds like to me she would be considered a Vulnerable Adult if you were not there to help. I believe you need to set limits with her and around your own realistic capabilities and desires to care for her. You do not need to feel guilty, caregiving out of guilt does not work well! And especially if you aren't meeting your own needs then resentment easily overtakes which would not be good for either one of you. It is what it is, and you have done nothing to get her to the unfortunate place she is in.

Options I see you having: You can feel free to call her county social services (you do not need her permission to call in your concerns) to let them know about her and how you may not be able to live with her for as long as she would need. If you don't get a helpful response then before she goes in for the next surgery make it clear to her and all the professionals involved (her doctor, hospital admitting staff) that you cannot be with her to help her upon discharge as you have obligations/life in Dallas. She will then likely need to go to a Rehab facility upon discharge which is typical and very common, and they will assess her while she is there as to whether she can go home or not and if so, what kind of soical serivices, Inhome service could be provided to help her be at home, or what her options are if she can't go home. You could make yourself available for teleconferences, help in care planning and going to visit her.

Possible long term plan to consider would be perhaps for her to move to a residence or an assisted living place in Dallas. That way you could visit often and she could come for visits with you and your family as well.

Hope these ideas are of some help. Best to you!

Shared by: Bette

If your sister's personality wasn't like that before, it's sounds as if she may be taking all her frustrations about her condition, out on you, the "safe person." You may want to acknowledge to her that she must be very upset about her changed circumstances, but let her know you're doing the best you can for her. If you're going to have her stay at your home after surgery and rehab, borrow or rent a bed. You don't want to be affected by a bad night's sleep yourself! Also, speak to the social workers at the hospital and the rehab about follow-up care at home, so she (you) can get help. Contact resources for seniors:
to help you.

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