caregiverDear Sheila,
When I was a working mother with small children, I had to hire a nanny to care for them while I was at work. I felt guilty every day and was afraid they would become more attached to her than to me (they turned out great!). Flash forward 5 decades and I’m in the same boat all over again, but this time with my father. My mom passed away 9 years ago and dad came to live with my husband and me. At the time, he was healthy and active, but he had a stroke 3 years ago and I’ve been his caregiver ever since. It’s become too much for me physically and emotionally, but I don’t feel good about hiring a caregiver. I don’t want him to feel rejected. How can I do the right thing for both of us?
~Feeling Guilty all Over Again

Dear Guilty,
I want to assure you that hiring the right caregiver for your dad can turn out great, just as it did with your children. Look at it this way, you won’t be of any help to your dad if you wear yourself out or worse, get injured. Imagine how guilty he would feel if that happened! Hiring a caregiver isn’t an “all or nothing” proposal. You could hire someone to help your father with his morning and or bedtime routines or to give you a break during the day to run errands or grocery shop. Home care agencies, such as Family Resource Home Care, provide caregivers for as little as 2 hours/day to 24 hours/day. When you hand over the caregiving to a trained caregiver, it will free up your time to take care of yourself and spend quality time with your father.  Imagine, instead of providing the heavy care, you two could share a meal or watch a TV program together.  I think your dad will understand especially if you focus on the need for you to maintain your health so that you are there for him. Do an internet search for “home care” for the city you live in and check out a few websites to give you a feel for what is available in your area. If you live in the Puget Sound area, the Family Resource Home Care website, www.familyresourcehomecare.com will give you a wealth of information about home care. I think you will both be happier when you have some help.
~Sheila

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