Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What would be most helpful?

An anonymous commenter to my last post says, "It would be interesting to see what your blog readers thinks that would help them manage multi-generational care giving responsibilities – a) flex hours at work, b) an understanding spouse, c) help from an outside source, d) technology advances."

What do you think? What would help you the most to keep from feeling utterly smooshed? I'm blessed to be self-employed, so I have the flexible hours. Hubby has been amazingly gracious and understanding. He usually accompanies me to Mom's and does many of the home maintenance tasks that she needs. He also hasn't complained about the increasing expense in getting there.

I guess my answer would be (c). I'd love help from an outside source that was reasonable and affordable. I heard the other day about a woman whose full time job is simply coordinating the care for an elderly man. She doesn't provide the care--just hires and manages. I feel like her, but without the paycheck. I thought we had a housekeeper to come in a couple of times per month and help with the heavy stuff. She came once, didn't do a very good job, and now needs surgery. So Mom is back on her own. Rather than waiting for hubby and I to come over, she tried to flip her mattress and cut her good hand... Someone who would simply check in once a day and perhaps help with a few things would be so wonderful. Someone to accompany her to the doctors' appointments I can't make would be wonderful. Someone to provide a meal every few days would be wonderful. Someone to make appointments and phone calls would be a real gift, and someone to answer Mom's questions, which seem to be getting more complicated with less understanding, would be wonderful.

What about you? What would help you the most?

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3 comment(s):

Hi Pat,
My understanding spouse is a constant source of encouragement and physical help to me. Like yours, he does a great deal of the maintenance work at mom's house (which we maintain and are in the process of renting) and often comes with me to visit mom in assisted living when I'm dragging and not in the mood. He validates my feelings of being overwhelmed and under-appreciated. And he joyfully finances the massages and dinners out that keep me sane.

My schedule is flexible, too, but before I quit my full-time job in May 07 to better handle my failing parents' situation, I used all my vacation, personal, and sick days to tend to their needs. And before I moved mom into assisted living (May 08), I spent a lot of time coordinating outside help--finally finding a couple of good matches and then keeping them happy and effective. I'm intrigued by the idea of doing this as a job, esp now that I've become good at it and know the local resources and providers. Hmm.

By Blogger Sandy, at 2:44 PM  

I think I'd go with outside help, too. My husband is great...while my mom isn't his favorite person, he's great with helping with the kids (7 & 4) while I tend to Mom, and very supportive of me. I try to minimize their contact when I can in the interest of family harmony, but even when he has to interact with her, he's a good sport.

I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I have a lot of flexibility, although I'm finding that I need to arrange for childcare a lot more. Which means that I either need to pay for it, or call in favors (which I haven't had the time, energy or inclination to return lately).

For instance, when she was last hospitalized, I arranged to be at the hospital 8 of the 10 days. I called in every favor I could to arrange free playdates, paid for a sitter twice, and had my husband take half a day (a last resort). When she got out, I spent days at her apartment, and ran her to tons of follow-up appointments.

I'm burning out...and who knows how much longer I'll be in for. And at what point do I move my kids higher up on the list?

My mom has some outside help, which I am SOOOOO grateful for. She gets help with showers and laundry three days a week, and at the moment, she's getting checked on by a home healthcare nurse twice a week.

I feel so selfish, though...I know a lot of people have it much worse than I do, but after doing for my mom, my kids, my husband, the house and pets, I'm ready to have a couple of days to myself. I've tried to pace myself, but it's tough.

I'm not even sure what kind of outside help I'd want. Maybe not so much for Mom, but me. If I could have someone in to clean MY house, say, once a month, it'd alleviate SO much of my stress. But when I mentioned it to my husband, I got a lecture about the rising costs and our dwindling savings and cutting expenses and getting a (paying) job.

Hmmm...this reply is getting so long, it may turn into a post....

By OpenID sandwiched, at 12:14 PM  

Thanks ladies for your comments. I can sure relate. It seems that even if we don't have to support our parents, the cost of caring for them affects our income and life style. My mom isn't local, so my monthly trip is now costly over $100 in GAS alone! Fortunately I'm not trying to do this with kids at home. That would truly smoosh me! Sandwiched, you are sure hitting this early! That can't be easy! Well, we can pray for and encourage one another.

By Blogger Pat, at 6:22 PM  

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