Caregiving - Families Don't Always Play Fair
our busy world, caregiving can become a complicated task especially
when multiple family members are involved. Who will take
responsibility for what tasks? Often the majority of the work is
delegated to the family member who has the most available time.
Caregivers placed in this position feel that this is not always fair
and that their brothers, sisters, or other family members take
advantage of them. This resentment creeps into family relationships.
The individual with the majority of the caregiving burden burns out
and their health may fail. Statistics report that caregiver stress is
at an all time high resulting in physical and emotional declines.
Exhausted caregivers are taken to task by family members for not doing
more. Or the caregivers themselves feel guilty that they are not doing
enough to care for their older adult. Many times this is a no win
situation unless other family members will commit to providing support
through time or money.
Signs of caregiver exhaustion can be seen in the older adult through
poor general appearance or hygiene, poor nutrition, dehydration, lack
of socialization or missed medical appointments. At times the primary
caregiver is so exhausted that they do not notice weight loss or other
changes in the older adult that may be seen by other family members
who express concern. It is at this point that family disagreements may
occur about the best care for the older adult. Some family members may
recommend facility placement or in home care because they feel the
primary caregiver is unable to provide the best care.
In this situation a compromise is usually the best course of action
for the older adult and the entire family. The primary caregiver may
feel unappreciated or victimized because other family members feel he
or she is not providing the best care. While neither side may want to
be seen as giving in it may be in the best interests of the older
adult to compromise. Outside evaluations from physicians or case
managers may also prove helpful in deciding on the best course of
action. Many older adults would prefer to remain at home if the cost
of care is not prohibitive or if the care necessary does not exceed
what can be provided. Many times a trained personal care provider can
provide the majority of care when skilled nursing is not needed.
Families should know that there are many options available for
assistance so that any one family member need not be overwhelmed.
These include not only in home care, but day care, family counseling
and other services.
About the Author:
Pamela D.Wilson, specializes in planning, counseling and advocacy for
older adults. Contact her at
The Care Navigator For real estate info related to this article
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