Saturday, September 19, 2009

Caregiver Abuse: Does Everyone Have a Breaking Point?

I often wonder if people realize the full impact of what they are saying when they make statements about what they would never do, particularly when they are judging others. Many things people said they would never do, regrettably, they have done. This brings up the topic of elder abuse by caregiving family members. More and more cases of abuse toward elderly patients are being reported. This abuse can be physical, psychological, and exploitative. Many times the abuse occurs in shared living situations with caregivers.

Many people believe everyone has a breaking point, a moral boundary that must not be crossed. Caregivers overwhelmed with depression, guilt, anger, and other stressors may have difficulty not crossing over this boundary, even though they know they shouldn’t. This is one reason why caregivers must always be mindful of taking care of and monitoring themselves. Often assistance from others is, not only helpful, but also mandatory, to prevent abuses from happening. Hospice team members and others can help with these needs and refer caregivers to those who can help them.

Caregivers need respite time away from patients, so they can share their experiences, gain
information from others, and relieve stress. They need programs that save them time and make them feel that they are cared about. They need others to be their caregivers by temporarily relieving their burdens, sharing an uplifting activity, being good listeners, and providing encouragement.

You can view a video about a caregiver confessing how she abused her mother here:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers in America and other countries and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

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