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Maria, Caregiver to her mother

Maria, Caregiver to her mother

I am a 56 year old woman looking after her elderly mother who is still living on her own but in loss of autonomy.  Although I try to offer her care and support on a regular basis, I still have to attend to my own family, my job, and other responsibilities.  Lately, since I have been completely exhausted, I have been wondering if placing my mother into a senior’s residence would be the best possible solution.

You are not alone

Many middle-generation daughter caregivers looking after an elderly parent live the same situation as you.  In response to the loss of autonomy of an elderly parent, women (often daughters) regularly become the informal caregivers.

These women and daughters who inherit this extra responsibility often have to reorganize their life schedule to also deal with other primary roles such as parenthood, housewife and having work related activities.  These extra tasks often force middle-generation daughter caregivers to compete for their time and energy which may create enormous stress, exhaustion, and psychological distress. 

The multiple roles that are expected from women in your situation are often excessive and result in "work overload" which may eventually lead to a "role burnout".

Take a break from your caregiving role

Because you are at the point of exhaustion and have no time to think things through, you may consider starting by taking a break from your caregiving role.  Depending on your mother's needs, you could ask a Visavie Counsellor for advice regarding senior's residences in the private sector that offers respite care for short periods of time. Your counsellor will understand your mother’s situation and will find a resource that fits budget and needs. Our services are completely free of charge.

You can also call on the services of Home Instead to offer temporarily in-home care services or respite care while you take some time to breath.  A professional CAREGiver will be able to care for your mother day or night, whether for simple companionship, help with personal hygiene, meals or support with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Once you have the time to clearly think about the situation, you may want to evaluate your options: 

  • You may decide to reorganize your life-schedule (eg.: reducing working hours, asking your mother to move in with your family, etc.) and continue caring for your mother;
  • You may decide to use in-home care services on a regular basis to help you with the caregiving;
  • You may want to check into senior's residences, foster homes or nursing homes where your mother would have access to 24 hours supervision and care.

You may also want to contact support groups or organisations that exist for caregivers of dependant elderly parents.  They may offer techniques and coping strategies to help you in your caregiving role.

There is help

When you have taken the time to rest, to explore the different possibilities and to discuss them with your mother, you will have a clearer idea of what is best for your mother as well as for yourself.

Should you need more help to reflect on the best option for you and your mother, don’t hesitate to call a Visavie counsellor. Depending on the situation, on your preferences and your mother’s, the available budget and the care needs, your counsellor will be able to help you choose between staying at home or choosing the perfect retirement community. Don’t hesitate, it’s free!

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