Sunday, July 06, 2008


The exhaustion that results from long-term full-time caring is something that not many people appreciate. Those who have never looked after an elderly person have absolutely no idea of how deep-seated this exhaustion can be. They assume it's all some kind of a stay-at-home picnic. See my earliest posts for thoughts on uninvolved relatives doing a whitewash job to ease their own consciences...

The first time my mom went into Respite Care for a week - it would have been early 2006, when I had already been looking after her for 9 years - I slept 12 hours a night for the first 5 nights in a row. It was midsummer and I'd decided to use my time off to develop a small shrubbery-border alongside the house. The outside work did me good, and as physical activity does, no doubt helped me sleep. But I found I was going to bed at 9.00pm, while it was still light, and not waking up till 9.00 am the next morning - broad daylight. And I don't ever take sleeping tablets. It was just badly-needed rest, I suspect.

Only people who have "been there, done that" know what this level of tiredness is like - or people who have had the experience in their family. This was brought home to me recently when some local friends suddenly became concerned for MY welfare because the wife's married sister nearly had a nervous breakdown looking after her mother, who is a whole lot more "with it" than mine. I have known these people for 9 years - throughout my carer years in fact - and I have never before felt this level of concern from them...

Stick around and find out what it's like to be a Caregiver!

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