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Cut yourselves some slack

Whisperer

Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
199
Hello All
I have been a member of this forum for about three years, helping mum as her Dementia has gradually developed. Gave up full time work in 2017 to be her resident carer, got a part time job two nights a week in a supermarket which went out the window recently. My mum is 88yo, hypertension, history of heart disease. As best I can manage with sibling support, we have gone into social isolation. My employer under the cosh right now, has been supportive and allowed me unpaid leave for the duration. Most likely I will never get back there. When this is all over mum may be to far down the Dementia road to leave alone overnight. My siblings having no direct contact for months may then encounter a mum who has declined significantly, or hopefully still mostly the “old bag” we all love and want only the best for. Nobody can answer those points. They just have to go on the back burner to deal with the here and now.

I only outline the above background to assure readers I am a genuine carer, like you all. I am not a helicopter, an invisible, a “I have no experience here but in my opinion......” type person. When I went through initial worries about mum, felt isolated, needed advice getting through her cataract procedures, concerned should I force her back to the memory clinic when she would not go , others here helped me. strangers took the time to answer my threads, give me solid advice and guidance. Canary explained about Anosognosia and an important brick in the wall fell into place for me. Suddenly a lot of what was happening “made sense”. Light bulb moment given to me here.

Now please allow me to try and give back a little in these worrying times. I am not trying to minimise very real worries and concerns, just trying to offer up a little reflection which might help in darker moments. Coronavirus is another worry on what was already a troubled journey with loved ones. I realise your anxiety and concerns are very real, but please take a few minutes to consider the following points.

1) Before this virus appeared you were all decent people doing a tough job. Just being on this forum, either as a member contributing or just reading threads you are clearly helping a loved one. You stepped up to the plate, or maybe stumbled there by chance and initially unknowingly. What matters is you stuck at it. That says a lot of positive things about who you are. I think we tend to react to events, challenges, etc, never thinking or remembering just to privately note we are doing the right thing on so many different levels.
2) Just trying to make social isolation work demonstrates concern for others, fore thought, a willingness to engage with issues most people will hardly have to think about, let alone deal with. Do you really think the average “stock builder” in the supermarket could even get their mind to engage with any of that. Me, me, me does not to any degree do self sacrifice very well.
3) Okay now the big and important thought. If a loved one gets this virus and dies do not buy into the self blame, guilt ridden mind set. You would all have done your best as would any professional carers. I know hospitals can be minefields for PWD, but in coming weeks those hospitals will fight amazing circumstances to try and win through for their patients. Visiting carers will do their best coping with no doubt even bigger staff shortages. Most importantly whether resident carers or distance carers you will all have done your best. Each of us can only do our best. I live with mum and in her limited world Coronavirus lasts about two minutes. I will do all I can to keep her safe, but that is all I can do. The same goes for each of you. You are doing your best in a period of unknowns, uncertainty, where your loved one is most likely unable to comprehend the danger in any meaningful way.


When I took (no stumbled) into a caring role I had a lot to learn and deal with. No one I spoke to or book I read mentioned this virus. This is unique, an added worry, something else to deal with. The worry, anxiety, grief, guilt, etc, have all gone up. Just take a moment and remind yourself you are part of the solution not the problem. Without your efforts things would be worse. If god for bid the worse happens you are not to blame.

let me end with some attempted humour. Thursday morning so I have to talk dirty to my mum. Yes it is shower day mum. The look on her face will be priceless. The weekly battle will soon commence and me and a reluctant mum will engage. We will come through it, hopefully for us all this virus will be the same. Hard work, not sure how things will go, but the junk goes down the plug home. What is valuable goes downstairs to sleep it off in her chair with her beloved teddy.

Remember just cut yourself a little slack, talk to yourself, remind yourself you are doing your best in very difficult circumstances.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,532
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
Well said indeed and covers most worries I suspect but for me the last bit is the most import thing to hang on to - a sense of humour! Thank you.
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,478
Suffolk
Coronavirus has only just evolved and been identified and named. That is why there are no guidelines about it in any book you might have read.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
I think that when all this washes through, I believe that there will be many of us who will be trying to deal with some form of mental health issue as a result of isolation, spending so much time with a PWD and no doubt reducing amounts of support

My husband is unable to go to his bridge game because of the virus so he hasn't anything to look forward to. He is still quite with it and is very aware of what is going on. Consequently, he is very anxious and talks about how if he goes down with it, he will die. It's only been a few days and he is quite testy.

We haven't been forced into isolation here yet but the thought of weeks or maybe months under those conditions is quite daunting.

I know that many carers suffer with depression as I do, have burnout issues or often because so many of us are older are also dealing with our own health problems. I know that somehow we will survive it but I also know that it will cost us, cost us our own mental well being , cost us our own sense of personhood and our reserves of precious energy.

At the moment, I can get out and about but life out in the real world is a bit grim. I have no idea of what people in UK and Europe are going through but from I see on TV, it is pretty awful. I will be thinking of you all very often.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,679
66
Toronto, Canada
At least with modern technology such as Facetime and Skype and even old style telephoning we can stay in touch with our families and friends.

To be honest, before the coronavirus I would see people in public with their eyes glued to their devices, so I think there is a good-sized segment of the population whose behaviour would not necessarily change radically. These are of course usually younger people.

It really are the older people who are stuck and perhaps need help with errands and shopping who are iun a difficult place.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
108
Hello All
I have been a member of this forum for about three years, helping mum as her Dementia has gradually developed. Gave up full time work in 2017 to be her resident carer, got a part time job two nights a week in a supermarket which went out the window recently. My mum is 88yo, hypertension, history of heart disease. As best I can manage with sibling support, we have gone into social isolation. My employer under the cosh right now, has been supportive and allowed me unpaid leave for the duration. Most likely I will never get back there. When this is all over mum may be to far down the Dementia road to leave alone overnight. My siblings having no direct contact for months may then encounter a mum who has declined significantly, or hopefully still mostly the “old bag” we all love and want only the best for. Nobody can answer those points. They just have to go on the back burner to deal with the here and now.

I only outline the above background to assure readers I am a genuine carer, like you all. I am not a helicopter, an invisible, a “I have no experience here but in my opinion......” type person. When I went through initial worries about mum, felt isolated, needed advice getting through her cataract procedures, concerned should I force her back to the memory clinic when she would not go , others here helped me. strangers took the time to answer my threads, give me solid advice and guidance. Canary explained about Anosognosia and an important brick in the wall fell into place for me. Suddenly a lot of what was happening “made sense”. Light bulb moment given to me here.

Now please allow me to try and give back a little in these worrying times. I am not trying to minimise very real worries and concerns, just trying to offer up a little reflection which might help in darker moments. Coronavirus is another worry on what was already a troubled journey with loved ones. I realise your anxiety and concerns are very real, but please take a few minutes to consider the following points.

1) Before this virus appeared you were all decent people doing a tough job. Just being on this forum, either as a member contributing or just reading threads you are clearly helping a loved one. You stepped up to the plate, or maybe stumbled there by chance and initially unknowingly. What matters is you stuck at it. That says a lot of positive things about who you are. I think we tend to react to events, challenges, etc, never thinking or remembering just to privately note we are doing the right thing on so many different levels.
2) Just trying to make social isolation work demonstrates concern for others, fore thought, a willingness to engage with issues most people will hardly have to think about, let alone deal with. Do you really think the average “stock builder” in the supermarket could even get their mind to engage with any of that. Me, me, me does not to any degree do self sacrifice very well.
3) Okay now the big and important thought. If a loved one gets this virus and dies do not buy into the self blame, guilt ridden mind set. You would all have done your best as would any professional carers. I know hospitals can be minefields for PWD, but in coming weeks those hospitals will fight amazing circumstances to try and win through for their patients. Visiting carers will do their best coping with no doubt even bigger staff shortages. Most importantly whether resident carers or distance carers you will all have done your best. Each of us can only do our best. I live with mum and in her limited world Coronavirus lasts about two minutes. I will do all I can to keep her safe, but that is all I can do. The same goes for each of you. You are doing your best in a period of unknowns, uncertainty, where your loved one is most likely unable to comprehend the danger in any meaningful way.


When I took (no stumbled) into a caring role I had a lot to learn and deal with. No one I spoke to or book I read mentioned this virus. This is unique, an added worry, something else to deal with. The worry, anxiety, grief, guilt, etc, have all gone up. Just take a moment and remind yourself you are part of the solution not the problem. Without your efforts things would be worse. If god for bid the worse happens you are not to blame.

let me end with some attempted humour. Thursday morning so I have to talk dirty to my mum. Yes it is shower day mum. The look on her face will be priceless. The weekly battle will soon commence and me and a reluctant mum will engage. We will come through it, hopefully for us all this virus will be the same. Hard work, not sure how things will go, but the junk goes down the plug home. What is valuable goes downstairs to sleep it off in her chair with her beloved teddy.

Remember just cut yourself a little slack, talk to yourself, remind yourself you are doing your best in very difficult circumstances.
So thoughtful Whisperer. Thank you. I particularly like ‘remember you are part of the solution’.