"Why do they call it 'Burnout'? When a light bulb burns out, I replace it and it's fixed. To fix MY burnout, I'd need a mother who can take can take care of herself for a couple of weeks and a brother who helps instead of saying, 'Caregiving's your job." I'm not 'burned out'; I'm charred beyond all recognition. I have to save myself before you need my dental records to find the person I was two years ago. I'm leaving Mom at my brother's home while he's at work with a note: "Your turn; left town for a while."
First thought: "Wow! That'll wake your brother up to your needs!" (Note option: 'Left town for a while; will return when you commit to sharing the load.')
Second thought: This might not be good for Mom and you may end up suffering emotional trauma.
Which lead me to my more-helpful-long-term third thought: How do so many caregivers get into this situation?
- Some caregivers help create problems with the "No one can care for Mom like I can" syndrome.
- Others are "it" - there's simply no one else to step in.
- Too many believe society's brainwashing manta that labels burnout as an 'unavoidable part of the job.' Don't buy into this fable.
Get an attitude!
- Tell family members they share an equal responsibility for Mom and you will no longer do this job alone.
• You expect them to provide three respite days each week where they or
professional caregivers take over.
• If you live with Mom, advise your family you expect them to care for her or hire
professional caregivers for at least one week-end each month while you take time for yourself.
- Call the organization most closely matching Mom's illness (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Heart/Stroke, etc.). Explain your situation and ask for help.
- If Mom/Dad is or was a vet, or is a vet's widow/widower, ask the VA for help through their "Aid and Attendance" and their "Geriatric and Extended Care" Programs."
- Call your church, synagogue, temple, or mosque for help.
- Stand firm and have some fun: Attitudes are useful for payback as well as help!
Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight, & Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©
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