There seems to be a stigma that caregivers are 'lower' class...

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After caregiving for my mother for 13 years and experienced a gradual recession and cruel treatment from my immediate family, I am realistically 'seeing' this as the case. It's easy for people to brush this claim as false, but they're usually not caregivers (this was by fare the worst Christmas I ever had, as my family All ignored me... ). Not looking for sympathy, and I'll probably 'make' it through this huge stage of my life, that has impacted my years... But, wondering what you think (your perception)...

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STIGMA THAT CARETAKERS ARE "LOWER CLASS"!
I AM A CAREGIVER BY MY OWN CHOICE. MOST OF MY (?) FRIENDS THINK I AM FOOLISH FOR DOING THIS. MOST OF THEM PAID STRANGERS TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR ELDER PARENTS. THEY DID NOT LIVE IN THE SAME STATE AS THEIR PARENTS. HOWEVER, THEY WOULD CALL ME TO STOP TO SEE THEIR PARENTS AND MAKE SURE THINGS WERE UP TO PAR. LATER, SAME PERSON, CONFESSED TO ME THAT SHE JUST COULDN'T BE THERE AND WATCH THE AGING PROCESS. SO SHE SENT ME??!! MY TAKE ON THE SITUATION IS THAT THEY FEEL GUILTY AND NEED TO JUSTIFY THEIR BEHAVIOR. THEY ARE JUST TO SMART TO LOWER THEMSELVES - THUS THE LOOK DOWN THEIR NOSE ATTITUDE. IT TAKES ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE TO MAKE UP THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN. THANK GOD THERE ARE SOME KIND SOULS THAT ENJOY SPENDING THEIR TIME BEING OF HELP TO OTHERS AND NOT ONLY THINKING OF THEMSELVES. THAT ALSO APPLIES TO PARENTS. I HAVE FRIENDS THAT FEEL TODDLERS AND YOUNGER CHILDREN DON'T REALLY NEED PARENTS - THEY LIE TO THEMSELVES AND SAY WHEN THEIR CHILDREN ARE GROWN AND NEED MONEY THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORANT TO HELP WITH. WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY? I HAVE SPENT MY LIFE BEING A FRIEND AND HELPING OTHER PEOPLE ESPECIALLY THE ONES WHO HAVE HELPED ME. I DO NOT THINK I AM "LOWER CLASS" BECAUSE OF WHAT I FEEL GOOD ABOUT DOING. I GUESS I DON'T NEED TO BE "UPPER CLASS" - BUT I NEED TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF - NOT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME.

ROSEPETAL
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I find that the family members that judge me as being less than human for being a caregiver are not good people in general.
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Hi Jess... My mother does this also, so I know what you mean... To outsiders, they can be so believable and make you appear so 'small' and 'vulnerable', which undermines the very (strong, independent, caregiving and unselfish) person you are. It really has blown me away through time/years/decades to see how they have actually 'mastered' this 'art' (making it all so believeable to anyone but us). I now think after years of exhaustion, in trying to 'reason' with her to no avail, that they believe their story-telling to be absolutely true.. And, I think they fabricate it (possibly subliminally) because it gives them the only 'power' they have left (which gives them this weird satisfaction of running us over). At this point, there is no reasoning with them... And, all this 'trying' to have a conversation with them is so time-consuming, wearing and dead-end... a 'one-way' infinite conversation.
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I'm glad this thread was resurrected. It made me think of one thing that really bothers me that my mother does. She talks to my brothers and to anyone else who is listening about how her money covers all our bills. She makes it sound like she is taking care of me financially. This isn't true. She spends about $1K a month of her SS. I spend about $1.5K of my own money a month for my bills, insurance, food, car, etc. The only thing she provides is the house, power, and gas. Grrrr. This bothers me a lot. I want to correct her in front of people when she does it, but I don't like to do that. I really dislike being demoted from a working person to a kept servant daughter like this.

I've actually considered making her words come true. It would save me a lot of money. I don't let her pay my way, though, because it would give her leverage that she would use to manipulate. When she tries to cross my boundaries by saying how much she does for me, I can say no she doesn't with total honesty.

It's sad when you have to protect yourself against your own parent. I know she has the need to feel that she is providing something, but I also know that she would use it against me. I've actually not let her do anything for me since I was about 25 since I knew what she would do. Still, though, she makes up how she used to give me lots of money during my life. It is just crazy. She did give me $1K when I got my BS degree. That was it. I don't think anyone of us kids except my alcoholic brother ever got any money from her. He got lots of money from her -- a very codependent relationship.

Wow, I didn't know I was going to go on this long. I just wish she would quit acting like she does things for me that she doesn't. It makes me feel like others see me as a mooch.
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What a great topic & replies.
Perhaps I was nieve when this started thinking I was doing so much and thought others would identify and nod in understanding. HA. Siblings won't help nor listen to me express my parents needs for more care and the difficulties I am having and in need of help.
When applying for jobs to get on with my life out of here, prospective employers do not value 50+ applicants (please don't argue w me here - ageism is alive, well and been an issue in my job search). We are passed over for younger more energetic moldable folks who are paid nothing.
I don't date because of the endless jokes I've heard about older children living in their parents basement (as caregivers no less) and that is a sign of being lazy and pathetic in mainstream.
Not easy. We are tough strong & have much insight that those who never do this will ever have
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Yesterday, (on my way back from errands) I stopped by to 'console' a male friend I've known for a very long time (about 32 years). His father-in-law just passes, and he hand his wife were flying out of town today to handle affairs. Somewhere in our conversation, he mentioned that I was "old"... I said to him... "no I'm not" and he made a point to say "yes you are". Is it me, or do people go out of there way to hurt people? (He's 4 years older than me)... Why do people have to say things like this to make you feel badly, especially when they know you're taking care of someone and going through so much (he knows I've been down and out a lot of the time). I wish I never heard him say this as i they every day to lift my spirits.. life is hard enough.
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Carisgiving, first, I want to say I agree with you 100%, as I've had people say "I don't know how you did it". I guess, it depends WHO is saying it and how they mean it, as I have told a person I dearly love who cared for her Alzheimer relative, "I don't know how you do it", but she knows I went through a phase in my life, that she feels the same about me. I still am a caretaker, but cannot do as much or as fast. Like the young assistant, they don't see or know what you are doing, and certainly understand feeling 'slapped in the face' with her comment. Those who KNOW me, understand, but those who are 'not close to me', just view me as 'not doing much' and should 'perform MORE'. I'm SO TIRED, have health issues, and feel shunned from their judgement and treatment of me. I am veering off a bit, but I am just saying, the statement "I don't know how you do it", is not always meant in to sound negatively or dismissive, but more as a true complement of your fortitude and dedication. Happy New Year to all!
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Carisgiving... Bravo!...
1,000+% correct
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I do feel like a second-class citizen whenever someone addresses me as a caregiver. I feel like someone is kicking me in the stomach, actually, whenever I'm addressed as a "caregiver". At a recent doctor's appointment, the young, like 18-year old young, medical assistant reviewed my paperwork before the doctor came into the room. The assistant asked me "So what do you do for work?" I told her I'm my mother's caregiver. She replied "Oh, okay...you're just a caregiver..." Well, her tone didn't sit will with me and I clearly had way too much coffee that morning because I immediately snapped back at her and asked "What do you mean by that..that I'm 'just a caregiver'? If I had said, I work as a neurosurgeon, then would you have said 'Oh...you're just a neurosurgeon'...?" She was red in the face from embarrassment and gave out a nervous laughter. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to care for my mother (and deceased father) because I became a better person for it. However, I'm so ridiculously tired of people thinking I have no brain - because I'm a "caregiver". As my mother's "caregiver": I'm her doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, chef, chauffeur, inventory supplies manager, billing manager, insurance claims advocate, therapist, hairstylist, grooming expert, massage therapist, investment manager, seamstress, secretary, counselor, housekeeper, motivational coach, psychotherapist, lawyer, teacher, business manager (move over Trump - I'm the ultimate negotiator), medical researcher...the list doesn't stop. I can't stand it when people say "I don't know how you do it..." with the glossy-eyed, deer in the headlights look. It's as if society becomes all of sudden physically and mentally paralyzed at the mere thought of caring for an aging loving one. Seriously! It's just such a bizarre reaction. I ask them: If you have a disabled child, will you sit on your ass - all day long - and wonder how do I do this? Of course not - you don't have time to sit on your ass let alone even thinking about sitting on your ass. You just jump right in and get the job done - because you love your child - and most importantly - you don't have an extra set of hands to help you out. You are it for your child. Period. I get irritated when people are surprised that I actually had a successful career - before I became a full-time caregiver to my parents - because they assumed that I've chosen caregiving - as my full-time career. 99% of us didn't choose to become a caregiver; we were just dealt with a difficult situation and are doing what we think is best for this chapter in our lives.
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Happy New Year to you all, all the best to you and your loved ones.
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