As the owner of a home care agency, I regularly meet with families and adult children that are struggling to deal with the life-changing effects of deterioration in the health of an elderly parent or with the chronic stresses of caring for that parent on a long-term basis.
There is something that I see almost daily, and that pains me greatly.
Imagine you’re in a nursing home care, and you see a senior woman sitting in a wheelchair, and a middle-aged woman who bears a close resemblance (her daughter) stands next to her.
The older woman is snapping at her daughter about her pain, that she just wants to go home, and that she doesn’t understand or needs all of the new medications she is taking. More so, she is loudly commenting on how sloppily her daughter is dressed and doesn’t understand why her hair isn’t combed properly or why she isn’t made up.
You look at the daughter and can tell instantly by the look on her face that she is exhausted because she was up all night researching those new medications that her mother’s doctor prescribed, ordering and coordinating the delivery of all the necessary medical equipment so that she can get her mom home as quickly as possible. All the while, she’s maintaining a clean household, making sure her children are safe, happy, and well fed, and still managing to dial into that conference call that her boss said was so important to her career.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever broken down in tears because you’re so tired of trying to make it all work, and despite your best efforts, all you are greeted with is more criticism and never a thank you? I’m here to say take a deep breath – you are doing a great job!
That’s right: YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!
Put those words on a Post-it Note, stick it to your bathroom mirror, and read it out loud to yourself each morning. (You may laugh, but the positive power of self-affirmation is real.) Give yourself that constant reminder because the unfortunate reality is that no one will likely thank you for your hard work, least of all your mother. And it’s a sad reality that Mom will always be nicer to the stranger who enters the room than to her family member.
But I am here to tell you that she is lucky to have you and that although she doesn’t express it nearly enough, I have been witness to the other side and would not wish that alternative on my worst enemy. Cherish the small things and gently remind her that you are trying your best.
Most importantly, please stop doubting yourself – I promise that you are going above and beyond anyone’s expectations. When you doubt yourself, pay attention to other rooms in the facility and see those seniors who are alone for days without visitors. Just turning up is half the battle.
So on behalf of all the mothers out there, here is a formal “Thank You” to the daughters for all your hard work!
Alvita Care is a premier provider of in-home care services designed to enhance our clients’ well-being, independence, and dignity. We help shoulder the burden of scheduling doctor appointments and refilling prescriptions – we can take care of it all while keeping you informed. (And our friendly staff is quick to point out to your mother how truly lucky she is to have you!)