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Family Events Are Hard for Dad and Work for Me

 

Question

"When the family has a gathering or big event, I’m always torn about whether to bring Dad. He lives in an assisted living facility, and it is no small task to pick him up and bring him somewhere. Also, he doesn’t seem to have the stamina to manage the event. If a family member brings him, they must leave early and often drive a considerable distance out of the way.

There are only two of us willing to pick up Dad and manage all his needs for the time he’s with us, which means the burden of transport and care falls on the same two people each time.

We have about five or six family events each year and it’s getting harder and harder for the two of us to manage. By the way, there are five children who could assist. 

Any suggestions on how to make this less difficult?"

 

Answer

Caregiving is hard work whenever it is done and by whomever does it. I believe there’s a special place designated for individuals who care for those in need.

Why everyone doesn’t feel the same obligation to pitch in and help, I can only speculate, and I will. Sometimes it’s because someone has never occupied a position of responsibility in the family. They hang back because nothing is expected of them. It’s far easier to let the “more responsible” siblings take over. Maybe they’ve not been asked or directed to step in and help, and they need that. Sometimes they’re younger siblings, other times they live out of town, or they are slightly disenfranchised. Whatever the reason, the pattern is likely longstanding. To change this pattern in adults requires a concentrated effort. If you’re the person who has been doing the heavy lifting, you can simply ask or assign the uninvolved sibling Dad’s transport to the next event, and retreat. By that, I mean ask or tell and then go silent. Do not take it back and do not worry about it. What happens, happens.

Consistently leaving some of the siblings out of decision making or responsibility perpetuates your situation. Yes, they will handle things differently than you. They may be late, they may be irritable, they may not attend to your father the way you would. The reality is they are also your father’s child. Dad is aware of their skill set. He raised that child, after all. If it all falls apart, then you will seek another solution.

One is to hire a driver and caregiver for events. It can be done and if your father can afford it, why not obtain some extra help? As I mentioned earlier, caregiving is hard work and takes many hands.

Do know that this will not be forever and you are making memories that last a lifetime. Rarely is life equal or fair. Do your best, get some help, and carry on just like all other caregivers are doing.

I wish you well on this journey.

 

About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

President & CEO Emeritus / RN

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