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Asking the caregiver how it's going opens the door for them to tell the truth that they need help. The person asking knows this and doesn't want to take the chance of being asked to take on a few hours helping out with the elder the caregiver is providing for.
Usually in families when there's an elder who needs being taken care of the responsibility of that care will fall on one person whether they volunteer to do it willingly, or if everyone else volunteers that person unwillingly. No one wants to do it so the rest of the family will work together to make sure none of them have to. That's pretty much why it's rare for anyone to ask a caregiver how they're doing.
And one other thing I want to add is that just because a parent is in a facility like AL or LTC doesn’t mean the caregiving child is foot loose and fancy free! No, they are still under stress and strain. I encountered that as well.
I certainly can understand your feeling hurt and I don't think it's selfish at all. If you weren't a caregiver and you were talking to those same people, they would most likely be asking "you" how you're doing.
Personally, I think there are many reasons (and maybe some of the other posters may have mentioned some of them): There is less and less empathy from people in general much less in response to caregivers. Add to that the pandemic where so many are dealing with their own problems whether it be a job loss, extreme stress from all the mandates, loss of their own loved one etc. Some just ask about the person you are caring for if they are closer to that person, others don't want you to unload all your problems with being a caregiver onto them, some don't know what to say just like people who don't say anything when you experience a death, some may be afraid you may ask (or hint) for some sort of help and unfortunately, some just don't care.
I've experienced it with my mom's siblings and I've become used to it that I don't feel anything anymore. I have resorted to sending update letters or texts and that way I don't have to deal with the insensitivity. Also, when you don't "expect" something to begin with, you don't get disappointed and/or hurt. Then if they do ask, you are nicely surprised.
Sick or elderly people are generally the only ones that people think or feel for. Nobody worries about the caregiver; we're taken for granted and/or expected to break our backs and give our ALL with no thanks, no pay, and no recognition of any kind.
My DH spent the last 3 months going thru & recuperating from triple bypass surgery and lung surgery 2 weeks later. We have 7 children between us, and tons of other relatives too numerous to mention. Out of ALL of them, ONE daughter in law called to thank me for all I've done to nurse him back to health, and it's been A LOT, let me tell you. Oh, lots of people called to see how HE was doing, with a few casually asking as an afterthought how I was doing, not waiting for a real answer. My DD whose an RN DID look after me, thank God, because she's one of the few people who understand the stress and heartache a caregiver endures. The rest do not.
Whenever I leave a comment here on the forum, I remind the poster to take of him or herself, that the elder is NOT the only one who matters! When an elder or a family member is sick, EVERYONE suffers. We all need care and attention and pampering, not just the person who's sick or old. It irritates me to no end when only the elder is taken into consideration around here. Then we look at statistics where the caregiver dies BEFORE the elder in 40% of situations. Surprise surprise.
Don't be a statistic.
I think we are responsible for not waiting to be asked or doing as NHWM did and educating people.
My late step dad, moved into our family home. He insisted on saying Grace before meals, not a tradition in our home. He did the usual thanking God for the food in front of us etc, but never once thanked the cook, me. After a couple months, I put my foot down and when he started his Grace, I told him he had no right to thank God for the food in front of him, if he did not thank me for preparing it. That he would never eat another meal I prepared, as I took his plate away.
He blustered and blew, but I was firm in my resolve. After that night he always thanked me for preparing the meal as soon as he sat down and he was not allowed to say Grace out loud and we proceeded with our meal.
My Dad asks everyone, every morning how they slept, he seems to think it is an appropriate morning greeting. I do not sleep well, I have never slept well, being asked about my sleep is not a pleasant way to start my day. I have not seen my dad is over a year do to Covid, but I have to remind him every time I see him that being asked how I slept, is not ok.
Dad was well known in my home town, I get sick and tired of people asking if I am related to him, (unusual last name), then going on about how wonderful he is. Then being told how lucky I am that he is still alive etc. Yup, lucky to continue to face his horrific mental, emotional and financial abuse.
When I need support from friends, I tell them. I do not wait for them to ask me how I am doing. Yesterday was a rough day for me, I called a friend in tears, as I knew she would be there for me.
Also I think you are a real bad a** for how you handled your late step-dad! Thanks for sharing that story, I can just picture it! Well done!
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