Question: I am my mother’s care taker. I get paid by an agency so I feel like I have to do everything for her. She has dementia and needs a lot of care. She is also at risk of falling, so I have that to worry about also. If she doesn't walk with her walker she will fall. I get frustrated when she doesn't remember things--like walk with her walker. Please help me!
Dr. Amy: Caregiving has got to be one of the most challenging roles on earth. The hours are long, there is often no vacation, and working with family--where there can be a lot of emotions from the past--can add a layer of complexity. If your relationship with your mom over the years has been positive and close, it can make her failing health a source of real sadness and concern. If your relationship has been rocky, it may intensify feelings of frustration or resentment. If we work with the public and have to deal with clients whose behaviours we find frustrating, we can shake it off more easily. We don’t live with them, and we don’t deal with them every hour of every day.
Regardless of whether you are being paid or not, caregiving is not a job for one person, especially when it involves caring for someone who needs attention both day and night. I encourage you to ask the agency that is paying you to have another look at your situation and help you come up with a plan that gives you some relief and respite. Are there friends and family you can also ask for help? You can't do everything yourself.
Risk of falling is a serious concern. Every year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Since your mom has dementia, she is may unable to hold the thought about using her walker. You can help by always putting the walker in front of her so she sees it when she stands up. It is hard, maybe it can help you to remember that she is not forgetting on purpose. Dementia changes the way our brain works and takes away our ability to think the way we used to. Home Instead Senior Care has developed a host of information and resources I think you may find helpful.
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