Caregiver burnout looks like a hero whose flame has gone out. Take Cindy for instance. She was taking care of her mother, moved home to be more available, and was also still working full-time. Her mother isn’t ill, but she was aging, losing mobility, her eyesight was failing, and she was needing help with meals and medication. This was just the beginning of the journey. Cindy works for a home care agency. She would see clients through out the day and would stop at home between clients to check in on her mother.
After a few months of burning the candle at both ends she was having regular headaches, unable to sleep when she should be, had a loss of appetite and felt general malaise. She went to the doctor, who let her know her blood pressure was up, and her heart was beating at a faster than normal rate (tachycardia). Her doctor indicated she could be burned out or stressed from her full workload and home responsibilities. The doctor encouraged her to make some decisions that would reduce her stress level and prescribed her with blood pressure medication and metoprolol for her heart. She set up a referral for a visit with a cardiologist and had her schedule a follow-up visit in 30 days.
She needed her job but needed to also be available to her mother. Cindy is an only child so she takes the responsibility for her mother serious. The agency was relentless in asking more from Cindy, picking up shifts at the last minute, and covering for her co-workers. She knew how important it was to provide the services her clients depended on and expected from the agency, and she had grown to love her patients.
Cindy decided to call me since we had worked together on behalf of a few clients. I was worried about her condition and made it a goal to provide Cindy with some hope. We scheduled a time that I could meet with them at home and told her we could work together to develop a care plan. Even though Cindy worked in the industry, I wanted to make sure that she understood how this could progress and how her feelings of obligation to care for her mother would make it more intense than when she cared for patients. Cindy’s mother had made it clear she wanted to remain in her home, and I was able to give them a realistic set of expectations so that they could make the decision together now. Surprisingly, when her mother saw the information about how things could progress, she offered the idea of moving into a retirement apartment to make it easier for Cindy. She would have services on-site for meals and could have someone come into her apartment to help with a few things during the day. The place offered extended care where she could move to an area that provided more services as she needed them. It also had a state-of-the-art memory care unit that would be great if her memory started failing. She just didn’t want to be a burden on Cindy’s life.
Cindy was so pleased with their meeting and seemed to really appreciate how many solutions were determined in a short amount of time. She expressed that she felt her blood pressure going down already.
Cindy was able to heal and maintain her employment. She performed her job with fewer distractions, and was still able to be there to regularly visit her mother. A journey a daughter was proud to take with a mother she so loved.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 561-291-3699 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!