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Caregiving & Getting No Help: A Funny But Apt Analogy

Updated on October 7, 2010

Are You Feeling Like You Are in This Alone?

Are You Feeling Like You Are in This Alone? Well, my dear fellow caregiver, you probably are. When a loved one gets sick there are those that are willing to do what is right and those that disappear into the woodwork. I have heard it said time and time again by others who caregive that they received little help, and I should brace myself for not receiving any either. I'd have to say they are right so far.

After fighting to get my mom properly diagnosed (she has Frontal Temporal Dementia), my husband and I took her in after her husband took his own life. What a mess! Her financial affairs were in complete disarray, we were selling her home, packing up her belongings, holding an estate sale, dealing with creditors, experiencing our own husband/wife issues, and I was starting a new job (which I have subsequently quit so I can work from home and care for my mother). I received a bit of help here and there, but it quickly waned as the weeks passed. I was left with a sea of paper to sort and file, and a sad, sad mother to comfort. Luckily, I did have a few friends and family members living far away that would lend a shoulder to me when I needed to vent or cry.

Reflecting back one day in a fit of anger over the many annoying things people said and people that could have helped did not do, the most perfect analogy came to mind. I dedicate this to all you caregivers out there who know what I'm a talkin' about!!!

One of Mom's Sweet Puppies
One of Mom's Sweet Puppies

An Analogy for the Angry Caregiver

Now, I hate to compare it to this, but the following is an accurate analogy nonetheless. At the very least I hope you get a chuckle from it and aren't offended.

Let's say the loved and cherished family dog isn't feeling well and takes a big poo in the middle of the living room. There will be the family member who rises to the challenge and begins cleaning up the mess and taking care of the dog who he/she loves dearly. (Caregiver)

The responsible and loving person above will not likely be joined by any others in the room. No, these people are content to let you clean up the dog poo all by yourself. You know the types:

Type 1:

In the beginning some may pretend to not even see or smell the giant pile of poo in the middle of the room. (Those around you who use denial to get out of doing the work, or they use it because they can't face the truth because it hurts too much. These individuals are good at making up their own truths and they also tend to bug the ___ out of the caregiver with stupid questions.)

Type 2:

Others may leave the room hurriedly to avoid having to look you in the eye and face their own guilty conscience because they don't want to clean up the poo. They run out saying, "I'm too busy. My spouse won't let me clean up the poo. I have a stressful job and don't have time left to devote to helping you comfort the puppy and clean up the poo." (These are usually siblings it would seem. Though many can't help if they aren't living nearby.)

Type 3:

And rest-assured others will thank you AFTER you have finished the job...but certainly keep their distance during the time when you could have used an extra roll of paper towels or bottle of carpet cleaner rather than their profuse thanks. (Distant relatives that could have called more often or offered to make phone calls for you -something, anything to take part of the burden off the caretaker's shoulders.)

Type 4:

And you'll have friends, lots of them, that tell you how great a job you are doing cleaning up poo and caring for puppy. They also let you know they don't think they could ever clean up after their puppy if it got sick and made a mess like that. They'd have to give that puppy to someone else that could take care of it better than they could. (People who are thanking their lucky stars they don't have to trade places with you. They generally mean well and are only trying to comfort you. These people are good company for an occasional dinner or drink when you can talk one of the other types above into caregiving for a night. Ha!)

Well, I guess by now you are chuckling knowingly or you are offended that the above analogy does compare the loved one receiving care to a puppy...but puppies are the best and we have four -so I hope you aren't offended.

If you are a caregiver for someone with FTD or anyone with aphasia, please visit my site and read up on some off the wall communication tips, then contribute your own as well. Many thanks!

Let Me Know If This Resonated with You?

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      Pamtime 9 years ago

      The denial that the puppy is sick and that I have been over protective, reading to much into how the puppy is doing. Everyone in the beginning offers a lot until you call. The friends are full of "you are doing such a great job, I just couldn't do it.", I am still sitting here shell shocked.

      Your link is not working and I would love to see your site and read some more. I can use a dose of care giver sanity, cuz frankly, if you aren't care giving you don't have a clue of what a bad day can be."

      Thanks for the smile.


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      Donna Elliott 10 years ago

      Type 5:

      Those who say after the fact, that if you ever need any help watching the puppy, give them a call. When you do call, they are always busy with a previously scheduled appointment. (These are the "friends" that fade away as time goes by.)