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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 - 9/9/14


Having gone through five years of part- and full-time eldercare myself, I found it necessary during a recent visit to point out to a dear friend, who is caregiving for her 86-year-old mother, that my friend is increasingly exhibiting signs of frustration, resentment and being overwhelmed.  My observations/criticisms were not appreciated and my friend got defensive, argumentative and curtailed her visit.  
At this point, I think the best thing I can do is suggest external, professional support, although she seems loathe to seek personal therapy. I was hoping that there might be a caregiver support group in her area.  She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn 11215.  I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations you might have.  Thank you. 



Shared by: Joanne G

I'm a Manhattanite currently "stuck" in Fla. w/ my mom, and I've been attending caregiver support groups thru the Alzh. Family Center (they aren't sticklers about the parent, spouse, whatever having Alzh. per se--any kind of dementia). Then I met a guy who was down visiting his dad only for a couple of weeks, and he told me there's a group just like it that he attends in Manhattan. If you can find a website for that one, they can probably give you info about a group in Bklyn. And fyi, should you or your friend ever need support regarding someone w/ cancer (and i hope you don't), Gilda's Club, on Houston St just west of 6th Ave, has an excellent caregiver support group. I attended the one at the Gilda's Club down here after a relative was pronounced terminally ill, and it was a tremendous relief to be among fellow caregivers who were sometimes venting about the moments they were feeling emotions othe r than pure love and devotion! :)

Shared by: Shelly Williams

As a caregiver to a twenty something year old, I, myself find it at times trying to cope. My husband died of Huntington, and its rough to go through it again with my son. I try my best to allow him his freedom, but its emotional watching him walk and have difficulty with eating. I just want to cover him with my health and strength and not ever have to let him go. I watch him diminish each day and am thankful for each and every one of those days. But he is tired, as was my husband. This place here is good for me, who at times can feel tapped out, as a working single 50 year old parent. I hope I can continue to utilize this place as an added support outside of my GOD and my parents and sister, who have been great support. I relish input and information and am open to suggestions and new ideas. Thanks!

Shared by: Chris
Bronx, NY

From what you've written it seems that your friend is not ready to accept help. People easily get defensive when they either feel attacked or don't understand. My advice would be to write your friend a message that explains what you were trying to say, in a very supportive and understanding way. No judgment or criticism else she will delete it and not pay attention to it. Also be as blunt as you can. You can suggest that professional help is a great way to curtail frustration but offer other suggestions. One thing all caregivers need to do is make time for themselves. It prevents burnout. Explain in your letter that you wasn't trying to criticize her or make her feel uncomfortable but you have made these observations and you were simply trying to express your opinion in order to help her live a fulfilling life. Being from the Bronx I do not know any support groups in Brooklyn but a suggestion is to ask hospital staff. There is u sually a social worker or psychiatrist who would have information on local support groups and can get your friend in contact with them.

Hopefully your friend will receive the message.


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