I can definitely attest to the many challenges and obstacles that family caregivers contend with on a daily basis. A study by the Change Foundation, 22 per cent of caregivers showed signs of distress, including anger, depression, being overwhelmed and unable to continue providing care. But through it all, you'll also have your eyes and heart opened in amazing ways.
I've been reflecting on the fun experiences my family and friends had this summer. My thoughts inevitably also turn to those with new health challenges and disabilities, and their caregivers, the people who are supporting them. I've learned that there are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.
This week, Kerry asks: My sister was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and she is refusing to accept any help from her family, friends or health care professionals. When I try to talk to her about it, we always end up in an argument. Do you have any advice?
Vicky asks: I've been taking care of my mom who is 74, in poor health and lives on her own. We've never had a very close relationship, and she criticizes everything I do. It doesn't matter if it's house cleaning, taking her to appointments, or getting her groceries -- it's like I can never do anything to her satisfaction.
My four-year-old daughter is having surgery soon, and I'm a nervous wreck. Her doctors have assured me that she will be fine, but I'm worried about her getting put out, and especially worried about helping her recover at home after leaving the hospital...help!
I took time away from my professional activities some three years ago after my mother suffered a traumatic brain injury. I had no idea then that my life, and especially my career and income, would face a second trauma. My experience is apparently not uncommon.