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I've learned from seminars and a caregiver conference that caregiving is classified much differently than other stresses and you can't relate until you go through it. I have a few friends that like to compare it to their teenage son or sweating out money issues. It makes me mad and I bite my tongue.


I'm an only child caring for my 91 year old Dad and managing his life, home, dementia, and couple helpers plus my life and I am single with my life to manage. Just seeing the decline can be so sad. I retired due to Dad. I mention my Dad almost went to the emergency room and they think that's just part of life. So how do you explain without causing grief that they can't compare other stresses to caregiving.

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I've had different stresses in my life. The care giving one was definitely hard for sure. No doubt about that. But my childhood was very difficult too for various reasons. At the time if someone were to have asked me I would have said nothing could be worse than this. I think stress is different for everyone. Some people sail through times that would make a fainter person lose their sh*t and vice versa.

It's all relative and dependent on the situation and who is having to deal with it.
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Reply to Gershun
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Barbara328, You never really know what things have happened in the lives of the people around you that may have caused incredible stress. There is no prize for who has the most stress, nor is there a way of measuring the stress of a parent who lost a child to suicide, to the stress of care giving an elder. Why do you need to compare it?

And from a other side of the mirror point of view, often care givers choose to become caregivers. I am not saying this is always the case, but I often read here that a carer refuses to consider assisted living, nursing home etc for their elder. Did the victim of child abuse have any sort of choice in the matter? Does the stress they carry their entire lives measure less?

I understand that you need support and acknowledgment that it is hard to care give. Care giving can be isolating, it is hard to find positive feedback and the guilt of knowing it will only end with death can be unbearable.

If I was told Dad almost went to the ER, I would think, Oh it was a false alarm, if it had been serious, you would have taken him or called an ambulance. My immediate thought would not have been what happened that had you so worried that you were considering taking him to the ER. Also not all visits to the ER are life threatening. My Dad gets some serious nose bleeds due to blood thinners, but although dangerous, it is not like a heart attack, or stroke (he has had one), so my brother calls when it is serious (the stroke), but not for each nose bleed.
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Reply to Tothill
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thanks for the input and yes different ways to view. I have attended a support group and there are those worse off than me. Commonality with the group gives a closer connection to a variety of stress caregivers going through. I have a good support group of friends - the best ones know how to relate and offer compassion and suggestions. Everyone hang in there!
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Reply to Barbara328
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The only ones who know how stressful it is our family caregivers. It's hard, even working Long -Term care isn't this stressful. Taking care if kids granted is Stressful, but u can at least think kids will be here for awhile. With parents, your not sure if they may be here in life an hour, day. It's hard plus having to provide everything for them. It's like no more you at all due to whatever time u do get if any, you wanna rest.
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Reply to SWallace
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You don’t. You are right, you don’t know that it’s a different kind of stress until you personally have been through it. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!
As cwillie said, join a support group like this one. Check out Alzheimer.org; sometimes they have meetings you can attend in a nearby neighborhood. We are experiencing similar stress, and can empathize. We can also help brainstorm with each other to provide answers to questions on things like DPOA, Medicare, Medicaid, VA, AL, MC, etc. based on our experiences.
When out with your friends, just exchange stories and concerns for each others’ lives. Use outings with them as a respite; you deserve to enjoy that time and not another thing to stress about.
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Reply to tazlady
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From the outside your dad's trip to the ER 'is' just part of life, I don't think there is any point in pulling out a yard stick to measure who has the most stress and needs the most sympathy. Some friends are just people you meet for dinner and a movie and if you are lucky some friends share a deeper bond than that, I think you have to be willing to accept them for what they are, there is value in both. If you want more acknowledgement about the difficulties of caregiving join a support group.
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