Keep an Eye on the Family Caregiver – Part I


Caregiving, eldercare, caregivers

by Joy Loverde

If I had to create a “Help Wanted” ad as a way to hire a family caregiver, this is how the advertisement would read:


Person available and on-call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day with no days off and little or no financial compensation. Qualifications:

  • Can speak medical, insurance, and legalese
  • Financial planning and bookkeeping
  • Juggle multiple scheduling systems
  • Car with valid driver's license
  • Heavy lifting
  • Expertise in home maintenance and repairs
  • Dietician, meal planning, and chef
  • Medication management
  • Limitless patience
  • Ability to change plans in mid-stream
  • Social worker and spiritual director
  • Willingness to sacrifice personal time and put career plans on hold
  • Can withstand criticism and ongoing feelings of isolation
  • Loves surprises

Seasoned family caregivers know all too well about the stresses of eldercare even under the best of circumstances, and family caregiving is not necessarily a short-term commitment. Responsibilities very often last for decades.

If you are not acknowledging how family caregiving may be affecting he quality of your own life, and you do not recognize yourself in the “Help Wanted” ad above, then I beg you to ask people you trust if they think you are taking on way too much by yourself.

Too often, family caregivers have rigid beliefs on who does the care and how it should be implemented. Making hasty statements like, “My mother will never go to a nursing home!” and taking pride in not asking others to pitch in will surely get the best of you.

Unrealistic goals and unhealthy attitudes can sabotage the caregiving process.  When we come face-to-face with our own limitations and can’t provide the kind of care we wish we could, we feel it’s our own fault. The truth is we may not be the most qualified person to take on all of the caregiving responsibilities all of the time. Limitations of relationships, time, stamina, and skill dictate how much help we can realistically offer.

Keep an Eye on the Family Caregiver – Part II and Part III will offer a self-assessment questionnaire.


5 Responses

  1. I am a former certified nursing assistant and had done it for 25 years. I took care of old folks and some childrens. I love taking care of them and giving loving care. Last year my mom was in a home and when I could I would go and stay with her and also I would help the girls there bathe her and dress her and they really enjoy my help.
  2. This is an excellent reminder and heads-up to those of us who are caregivers for our own loved ones, and for those who love and help/take care of us. Looking forward to Parts II and III, and the questionnaire. Thank you! Joan Caregiver At Home
  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nancy Iannone and steve Joyce, Nancy Iannone. Nancy Iannone said: RT @mike_gamble VERY Important: Keep an Eye on the Family Caregiver – Part I - [...]
  4. Suz
    I have been taking care of my 67 year old husband for 4 years and watching him slip farther and farther away daily. He has so many health issues. Now I am contemplating an assisted living or nursing home for him since I physically cannot lift him anymore. I want to keep him home, but feel it might be time. You can say all you want to about taking care of your parents. but you will never understand grief and heartache until it is your spouse.
  5. admin
    Your Message<a class="replyTo" href="#comment-3344" rel="nofollow">@Suz:</a> <a class="replyTo" href="#comment-3344" rel="nofollow">@Suz:</a> Suz, I want to thank you for leaving a comment. Surely this is a very difficult time and I hope you feel welcome to share your thoughts here anytime. Sending you all good and positive thoughts to help you during this time.
  6. Suz, my heart goes out to you as you take care of your husband. You are right, that would be the hardest thing of all. I cannot begin to compare taking care of my parents to caring for my beloved spouse. My prayers are with you both.

Leave a comment