One Woman’s Perspective on Caregiving: “It Simply Sucks”

caregiving

An honest look at the sucky parts of caregiving

Ann Brenoff became a caregiver to her husband when he suddenly went into acute kidney failure. She wrote an article about her recent experiences for the Huffington Post titled No, Caregiving Is NOT Rewarding. It Simply Sucks.

Ann writes honestly about how angry she feels when people (and brochures) talk about how rewarding caregiving is. She says “It is many things, but rewarding isn’t one of them. It is life-disrupting, frustrating, painful and heart-wrenching. It is time-consuming, exhausting, frightening and depressing. I have scratched off the film on my caregiving lotto ticket and have seen nothing that even comes close to a reward.”

Of course Ann loves her husband, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t frustrated and angered by everything that’s been thrust upon her. As his health advocate, she’s forced to constantly fight with social workers, doctors, and other staff to get him the care he needs. Their lives will never be the same and there’s a tough road ahead.

 

Caregivers deal with conflicting emotions

Being a caregiver is no picnic and none of us asked for this all-consuming job. It’s a constant struggle – against the healthcare system, our own bodies and minds, and even against our older adults when they can’t or won’t cooperate.

It’s natural to have strong emotions, even conflicting ones. We can be sad, angry, compassionate, frustrated, anxious, loving, and totally fed up and burned out…sometimes all at once.

 

Get caregiver stress relief from venting feelings

Don’t feel like you need to deny your true feelings. Letting your emotions out is an effective way for caregivers to relieve stress and cope with what’s happening. We applaud Ann for speaking openly about her challenges and sharing how she really feels.

Non-caregivers may not be able to understand, but that doesn’t mean you always have to be strong and silent. Find people you can vent freely to – friends, family, and caregiver support groups are good places to start, We bet anyone who’s been in similar caregiving situations will absolutely get it and that expressing yourself will help you feel at least a little better.

 

Next Step  Get Ann Brenoff’s honest thoughts about how hard the caregiving experience can be

 

You might also like:
8 Benefits of Caregiver Support Groups
Alzheimer’s Support Group on Facebook: Memory People
4 Ways to Reduce Stress from Caregiver Emotions

 

By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Home Instead Senior Care, Mission Viejo

5 Comments

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Bunny Pickweed

    It sounds so easy, caregiving. Meals, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and laundry, so what’s the big deal? What’s everyone complaining about?
    Caregiving is a nightmare, that’s what! It’s just a complete, unforgiving nightmare. Caregiving for family and friends has fallen on my lap five times, and it is so hard!
    I was young the first two times, and it was easier then, but still, in the end, I was left heartbroken and in upheaval.
    I started again when my dad got sick, and moved home for a year. He was the sweetest man, never mean, always trusted me, never argued, and I treasured every moment. But my mother? She reverted to a very cruel teenager, a spoiled fourteen year old, and she hated me. I never knew! I never knew my mother hated me, but she screamed and yelled it plenty of times that year, so now I know. I am still crying. My heart us broken, and I will cry until I take my last breath…
    Then I moved out of state for a year to care for my best friend, and she too, was a screaming teenager. A rebellious teenager, rebelled against the doctors, social workers, friends, family, and me. Mostly me. But every night she said “Good night, I love you..” I watched her die the worst death I have ever seen, and her suffering was beyond anything I could imagine. The State of California was willing to pay me, but she rebelled against the social workers and had delusions regarding the paperwork. She was so sick, I let it go, but it cost me dearly in the end.
    And now I’m caring for an 82 year old man, and I am exhausted. I’ve known him for 25 years, he was an older boyfriend of mine, and we had some great years, but not anymore. He suffers too, terrible pain, and he’s mean. The neighbors can hear him screaming every day, and he hates everything I do. I quit two years ago, and he hired a new caregiver, so I was off the hook! Until my phone started ringing, friends and neighbors, concerned about his well-being. They called her “Kathy Bates,” after the movie, Misery.
    Then he begged me back, and again, I am isolated, exhausted, depressed, lonely, and scared. Scared about my future, and scared when it
    looks like he’s not breathing, scared about my health, scared scared scared! And all this, with a smile on my face, I am always smiling!
    And I have two people wanting me to caregive for them right now. Two!
    I started a support group, and it really helps. I’m not into support groups ir anything of the sort, but it is so great, I can’t believe it. I want to explore ways to make caregiving a good thing. It shouldn’t be like this for everyone. Google “caregiving” and good luck finding one positive article. Is it like this in other countries? I bet in Other places, like France, you get to relax together, sip some wine, and treasure the last days, sitting on a porch, and remembering together, a good life.

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Connie Chow

      I agree, caregiving is an incredibly tough and all-consuming job. It’s amazing how many people you’ve cared for and how much you’ve sacrificed for their benefit. It’s wonderful that you’ve started a support group. They are so much more helpful than they might seem. I especially love your attitude of making caregiving a positive experience. It’s difficult, but we all do it because it’s important to us. On this site, we take a positive approach and focus on practical tips and advice that can help improve everyday life. I hope you’ll find our articles a helpful and positive addition to your day. Big hugs <3

      • Reply August 23, 2016

        Bunny Pickweed

        Awwww! Thanks! You made my day!

  • Reply August 19, 2016

    Wendy Allen

    Caregiving does suck!! I’m glad someone spoke up and said so!! I’m taking care of my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and while I in no way blame her, and would never make her feel badly about it, I am always feeling stressed, always tired and missing out on my life. It is a life disrupted for us both. It’s rough for everyone involved. There is no joy or happiness in watching a loved one slip away mentally, one day at a time.

    • Reply August 19, 2016

      Connie Chow

      We’re glad Ann spoke up as well! It’s an incredibly hard job and while there may be rewarding or meaningful moments, it’s a stretch to say that everything involved in caregiving is rewarding. With all that you do for your mother, it’s no wonder you’re feeling stressed and resentful for having your life turned upside down — that’s a completely natural response. And it’s so painful to watch someone you love slowly decline in front of your eyes. Big hugs to you, Wendy <3

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