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As some or most of you know, I have been working for a very demanding woman, and it is around now day 120 and I have had 5 days off.

For about two weeks or more, I have had more issues with not tolerating her nasty behavior at me, and when she decides to tell me off (I walk off), she will call until I unplug the phone, and would take a taxi to my house, if she could remember where I lived and was ambulatory.

Then there is the other side of her, the sweet as pie woman. I realize this is much exactly like families, only I am the paid caregiver to put up with all of the )(#*()*%*(#.

So, I realize, ok, I need to back off, and this is my week possibly month. Before I was always afraid, of this or that, or her health.

Let me tell you friends. What everyone needs to be afraid of that is a caregiver paid or unpaid is YOU, YOUR HEALTH.

I went to the doctors yesterday, and I cannot believe what the toll of this stress has taken on me.

I would love suggestions, but I have learned. STOP, SLOW DOWN, LIVE MY LIFE, BEDS ARE MADE TO BE SLEPT IN NOT TO STAY UP ALL NIGHT AND WORRY, and SINCE I HAVE BEEN AWAY FROM HER FOR 2 WHOLE DAYS SHE TALKS DECENTLY WITHOUT YELLING. I AM PLANNING ON BEING GONE TWO WEEKS, AND WANT TO TELL ALL OF YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!!

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THANK YOU BOOKLUVR: I have a LOVING HUSBAND that is HELPING ME as he is PARTIALLY RETIRED. It is making a huge difference. I FOUND OUT I HAVE BURSITIS IN BOTH HIPS, this is from trying to meet all of the impossible demands. My Doctor was a human and he is a doctor to make a difference, and said, if he worked without a break, he would be very little good help to me! I listened, and realized, I needed to say "I NEED HELP" My husband has been my respite. THANK YOU SO MUCH BOOKLUVR for showing the compassion and the love that I needed to hear.
Agingcare.com is a place (a safe online place) where we come, and write, when we have good moments, when we have stressful ones. Thank you for allowing that to still happen.

HOPE22 (I care, I have been where you are for years)
I'm a little perplexed by the original post. While I agree with the toll it takes on caregivers …absolutely…oh yes I agree….if you are a paid caregiver…don't you know what you are getting into before you do it??? (THE ANSWER IS 90% of the time know. Clients health changes day to day. Hours can change. It all depends on the situation).


So yes, I agree that one of the major issues with caregiving is the health of the caregiver...but if you are getting paid to do it...isn't that the job??? Most of us here are NOT getting paid… (I DON'T KNOW, I HAVE NOT DONE A SURVEY, I KNOW THIS IS A PLACE WHERE I CAME WHEN I WAS A NON PAID AND A PAID CAREGIVER. IS THERE REALLY A DIFFERENCE, OTHER THAN I AM LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE THE CARE THE COMPASSION AND THE CONSIDERATION TO DO THIS FOR OTHERS?

All I was saying was, the above, and that caregivers most of us, get into it the way I did. I am good at what I do. I know that I can burn out in any job. I would rather make a difference with a human life, and recognize that
Note that on this job, I was told three hours a day five days a week. Her health was very poor. Her family for obvious reasons of whatever being tired and weak and yelling at everyone everyday, has chased them away, (although, they call and state they love her).
I had not one clue that 6 month's later I would have been in one hospital every day with her for 40 days. I had no clue that she would be in Rehabilitation for 100 days.

But, as a caregiver, I ALSO HAVE BEEN NON PAID, FOR MANY YEARS FOR MY MOTHER (Alzheimer's) and Father (PPA, Aphasia). I get both sides, and we CAREGIVER'S should not be on two different sides.

I am a caregiver, I am a non paid caregiver and I don't know what each day brings.

I am now mostly a paid caregiver, because we have paid others to care for my mother's care, as her needs were too great and literally killing my father' and making his illness progress faster. along with my father's and that is not an easy statement. There were many tears a shed to send her to a Memory care unit. Her world was getting too confused, she was lost. Now, in a bedroom, we have her comforted with all of the things that consisted of her life. She is now happy. She is content in her own life. I hope. Or at least that is what she states. I live with that everyday, as does my father, my two sisters and my husband and all of our kids.

As I will continue to say, "there is a diamond in everyone of us" regardless of what we do a profession. I have been thanked countless times.

I do have the option of not working in the caregiving field, but if anyone that new me saw my advertisement, I stopped my banking career, politics, gossip, etc. to take care of my mother, then I saw a world of need, a world that I knew step by step, person by person, I could make a difference in. Wouldn't you want me to do what I do best in this world? I still have and WANT to see my mother every day and my father too. I am not paid. Does it matter? I have to make a living. Many non-paid caregivers do not need to make a penny, but most survive on nothing. I thank all caregivers. None of it is ever easy.

I am feeling like my initial post was, please let all of us stick together, and thank you to those that are giving me assistance to understand my boundaries and taking care of myself. Without taking care of myself I have nothing to give to my mother, my father or my paid client, (whom loves me like a daughter).

Please, I do not want conflict here, this is where I go for peace, and understanding.

Well, I think you would want me over someone that is doing it because it is the only thing available. I am doing this from my heart and soul. Knowing that I will always treat my clients like I am their best advocates (if they don't have family) and if they are lucky enough to have family, then the family is very very blessed, as this one tells me all the time, that they are to have me, (so they don't have to put up with her). Everyone has a diamond in them, sometimes, we need to go through many challenges to find that diamond. I believe in people. I believe in me. All I am saying is thank you to all who support me and what I do, and thank you for reminding me to take care of myself, and thank you for just listening, and not comparing me to a non paid caregiver. We lost a lot being non paid caregivers to my parents and my husband's parents for a total of 6 years, but I wouldn't take a minute of it back. Now, it is my turn to take care of others. I cannot work for free, I need money. I don't take much, but I know those that pay me appreciate all the love and giving that I give to them each and every day.

Thank you.

Carol, you are correct. I was merely posting about burnout, and caregiver burnout.
Those that follow me and the things I post know I have had my mother and father live in my house, but that was not what I was writing about. Let us all have an open mind, that possibly we are just talking about that one day and what we learned, or possibly and entire year. We are all human, learning every single day.

Thank you all for your compassion. I am doing MUCH BETTER!


Paid or not paid, to me, I know I have been both, and it is the same kind of burnout. No, I cannot leave my client when she is in ICU. That is why I am a good caregiver. But I have to learn everyday about my health, my live my boundaries.
"Life is a journey, not a race"
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I am certainly not trying to minimize the stress on a paid caregiver...and I know their work is valuable...I'm just saying that they do have the option of not working in the caregiving field ...we do not
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My job is very stressful. I've been working there for 20 years. I've had coworkers who CRIED in the restroom because of my boss' words. I've had new coworkers whose husbands told them to quit because they were becoming doubtful, tentative, no longer self assured women who cried so easily. My bosses are perfectionists in which no one can really match their expectations. Our fellow business associates all know how my boss is. Several people have asked me how I was able to work this long with them. Do you know how I did this? I grew up from a very dysfunctional family in which both parents expected us kids to jump at their commands. Don't argue, don't disagree - just do it. When I first worked there, I did cry a lot. But I refused to quit because my dream was to travel. And darn it, if working there and putting up with them means that they pay for my trips - I will stay. And here I am, 20 years later. I have never paid for my ticket/hotel/tours when went to London and toured the Windsor Castle, Seoul Korea, Disney Sea in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bali, etc....

Just because a caregiver is being paid, does not mean that they don't have the same stress like us. Except they get to go home. We cannot - since we are home. Their job helps us family caregivers. They work just as hard, maybe harder, than us family caregivers. Because if they mess up, word of mouth can prevent them from getting another client.

I've seen these PAID caregivers persuade my dad to do things that he refuses or gets angry with me. These paid caregivers were able to get dad to shower at least 4 times a week, whereas before it was once every 3 weeks. And sometimes, the words that come out of my dad is Sexual Harrassment. But these caregivers know how to let it in go in one ear and out the other. They cannot react like me, where I would have thrown a big stink and we both end up yelling at each other because he treats me like dirt.

I'm just grateful for the paid caregivers who come here to service dad. I have heard stories of their other clients. OMG!!! I would never ever want to be a paid caregiver. {{{shudder}}} They cannot walk out the door like I do in a temper tantrum. They have to remain professional.

Livelifefull - I hope that whatever health that you neglected because of caregiving (that includes destressing) is something that is manageable and that you can bring back to normal or good health. When dad had his stroke, I was the only person living with 2 bedridden parents. I have 7 siblings and no one volunteered to help me. My stress level spiked within months of dad's stroke. I became a high risk candidate for Heart attack or death from exhaustion. Yes, we all need to take care of ourselves. We just need someone like you to come to our homes and give us respite. =)
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Hi Hope,
I had to laugh (sadly) at your brother "letting" you have an hour for yourself. Isn't that how if often goes? I do hope you can find a way to get away on a day trip at least once a month.

Your not feeling like cooking for yourself is understandable and likely shared by many. I have the same problem. I rarely cook full meals unless there's a need because others are coming who will be eating normally. I try my best to eat in a semi-healthy manner but it's not easy.

I also agree with your comment on the original post. I try to give people the benefit of a doubt and feel that the poster may not be fully communicating everything. I know CNAs and others who lovingly care for people in their homes or in nursing homes. They often become very attached to their care receivers and have a tough time detaching when they go home. Still, that isn't the same as being a family caregiver. So, if the poster is having issues with health from caregiving, imagine that problems family caregivers face.

Keep us posted on your progress toward better self-care. Nearly everyone on this community can use encouragement in this area.
Carol
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I'm a little perplexed by the original post. While I agree with the toll it takes on caregivers ...absolutely...oh yes I agree....if you are a paid caregiver...don't you know what you are getting into before you do it???

My health and my appearance has gone to heck. I have never felt as bad as I do know healthwise, and I seemingly have lost interest in maintaining a respectable appearance...why put on makeup or an interesting outfit??? Where am I going anyway??? to the mailbox....or to rake the yard??? that is pretty much the farthest I get...I finally did give in and place Mama in respite for a week...but that entire week was spent moving my entire home from two and a half hours away...but at least now my house has sold and I am home and can be about the business of hopefully rediscovering my clothes, pretty housewares, etc. so maybe I can find some joy in that...

My brother has begun "letting" me get away for an hour or so on Sundays...but I am going to try to plan on at least a day trip once a month and start trying to get in some decent activity (cardio wise) . Now that Mama does not "eat"..other than ensure...I have no real reason to cook full meals..except I suppose that I need to start trying to eat healthy...It's hard to cook a healthy meal for one person..at least it is to me..I'd rather grab a cracker...a piece of cheese..some peanuts ..than fool with the dishes and such...I think we get such a laser focus on the person we are caregiving for that we just forget we even matter...I certainly have not been treated as though I mattered up until recently when I think my brother finally, after almost three years...sees the toll this has taken on me...

So yes, I agree that one of the major issues with caregiving is the health of the caregiver...but if you are getting paid to do it...isn't that the job??? Most of us here are NOT getting paid...
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You are right. Caregivers have to find some way to take care of themselves or they are set up for health repercussions.

People who work at caregiving as employment, as you do, can get away for awhile, but vary in how much they can mentally let go. Getting away mentally and often physically is, of course, harder for family caregivers as they often don't have many choices.

Yet your words of wisdom about the toll caregiving can take on our health is wise. Many of us develop autoimmune diseases, heart issues, depression and other quality of life or life threatening issues.

Thanks for the reminder for all caregivers.
Carol
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