Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Caregiver for a Parent

Meeting topics seem to go in cycles. The past few meetings have been about caring for an elderly parent. This will include some questions and answers. Please be sure to add your comments.

Q: I sleep with my mother so I will hear her when she needs something. Do you think this is a good thing.

A: No, I don’t. Parents I have talked to are very uncomfortable with that arrangement. It makes them feel like a small child and they are afraid to move or take a deep breath for fear of waking their bedmate. The adult child bedmate does not get a good night’s rest for much the same reason since he or she is afraid to move for fear of waking the parent. It is like keeping one eye open all night just in case something goes wrong.

Q: I don’t want to be in another room. What’s the answer?

A: Is there room for a folding cot by the bed? It might not be as comfortable, but one might get more or a better rest. How about putting an inflatable mattress beside the bed? You might even find that back problems go away. At least, each of you can move about in a normal way.

Rest is often at a premium when the parent needs to go to the bathroom or have medication or a drink of water. One can seldom get back to sleep immediately and often becomes a grouchy caregiver not matter how much one loves the parent or wants to do it.

The same goes for caregivers of spouses. Sleeping in the same bed is much more comfortable spouses, but there often comes a time when the caregiver gets more rest when the “big” bed is exchanged for twin beds or by adding a twin bed.

Please remember to take care of the caregiver by asking for help or respite care so you can get out for even a few hours of freedom from being on alert. When you become sick, there will be nobody to care for the patient.

Until next,

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