Ask Jennifer: Week ending...

Posted at: 01/04/2010 9:04 AM
Updated at: 07/07/2014 10:36 AM

Caring for mom is breaking daughter’s back

Dear Jennifer,

I’m writing because my wife and I are worn right out – especially my wife. We have her mom living here with us in the back parlor room. We wouldn’t have her anywhere else. But caring for her is out and out labor. We lift her and change her and shower her. She’s about 180 pounds and my wife’s back is starting to give out and my knees complain to me every day. My wife’s doctor told her she’s got to rest her back. Is there any outfit that could come by and give us a break for a week or something like that? She’s on Medicare and she’s got a little nest egg tucked away but it isn’t much. We don’t want her anywhere but home, but I don’t want us wearing down faster than her. I’d be much obliged for any recommendations you have.

Yours Truly,

Dear Mel,

Good for you on both counts; taking care of your mother in law and recognizing you need a break. Your options are:

1. You might hire helpers to stay with mom around the clock and go on a retreat, get away. Relax.  These could be private hires or through a home care agency.

2. Or, just for a week or two, sign your mother in law up for what’s called a “respite” stay in assisted living. It would only be short term, but you could each relax with the peace of mind that she’s safe and receiving care.

3. After you take your break, you might want to consider hiring a helper to stay with mom overnight so you can rest, or during the day so you can get away.
Please, it is just as important to care for yourself as it is for you to care for your mother. I’m not so much telling you this (I think you understand it) as I am stressing this point to my readers. When the caregivers become ill or incapable of caring for their elder loved one there are two people in crisis. It is best care to elders to take care of yourself as well.