Do you think it is possible to care for someone without experiencing high levels of stress?

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No, not in the current climate...  There is so much ignorance surrounding caring for someone.  For example, I find that work colleagues do not understand why we have a commitment to caring.  I do have confidence that it will soon able to care in a less stressful environment.  This is why something like this site has has helped.  I would like to see the following five issues considered now - they would reduce my stress levels.

1.  Better training for health care workers so they understand/appreciate a carer's emotional and physical role.

2.  Better financial provision.  State run care homes are being closed, and although you can get financial assistance you have to BEG for money/services.  

3.  I would like the carers allowance increased.

4.  The Carer's assessment needs replacing - it has not helped at all.

5.   Single points of contact should be set up.  There is a new one coming into being for bereavement.

I wishlist could be even longer but I think you get where I am coming from.

Dianne Craven

sorry but no they haven't. well not in my area anyway. social workers still don't take notice of relatives and what they say. we really do know better than them. social workers are all about ticking boxes only. they are sooooooooooo patronising it unreal.

holly mountfort said:

I am a carer and I agree with Jenny Smedley that local authorities could do more to support carers and their families.  However,  I do think things have improved since I started caring 18 years ago.

I am a carer to my disabled son who is now 11 years old, he also has severe learning difficulties, I am a single parent carer, have no family support, and basically I do everything for my son , as a result I get very tired both mentally and physically, and thats all respite I can get off social services is 2 nights per month, which I feel is not enouch, but social sevices say they cannot give me anymore,which I think is disgusting
 
Heather Lord said:

sorry but no they haven't. well not in my area anyway. social workers still don't take notice of relatives and what they say. we really do know better than them. social workers are all about ticking boxes only. they are sooooooooooo patronising it unreal.

holly mountfort said:

I am a carer and I agree with Jenny Smedley that local authorities could do more to support carers and their families.  However,  I do think things have improved since I started caring 18 years ago.

What carers assessment, I was told I do not qualify as a carer so no point in having an assessment. I only 'care'  for my son from Friday just after 6 if he is on afternoons to Sunday night then the times he comes in the week (not as much now since we have had siome support from SS but it is still there)  I have spentg hours and hours writing, emailing phoning to sort his finance out after bank 'mistakenly'closed all his accounts down and not the 1 I asked them too.  From october it has taken until yesterday to get the last condirmation that they are all up and running and his credit rating has not been affected. But apparently that isnt in the remit for caring. Neither is mending his car, taking him on holiday, having him here 6 weeks a year holiday times Its a joke. Carers allowance whats that? Recognition lol, stress through the roof this weekend, hardly any sleep 2-3 hours intermittent a night, days taken up with organising meals going to hospital, rushing home to finish cooking meals, writing journals needed. very hot bath to relax now bed to read , put some music on and hopefull get some sleep. Still waiting for his assessment to see if he is on autistic spectrum, told he would have it nealry a year ago now, he is 40 how much longer do we have to wait.
 
Dianne Craven said:

No, not in the current climate...  There is so much ignorance surrounding caring for someone.  For example, I find that work colleagues do not understand why we have a commitment to caring.  I do have confidence that it will soon able to care in a less stressful environment.  This is why something like this site has has helped.  I would like to see the following five issues considered now - they would reduce my stress levels.

1.  Better training for health care workers so they understand/appreciate a carer's emotional and physical role.

2.  Better financial provision.  State run care homes are being closed, and although you can get financial assistance you have to BEG for money/services.  

3.  I would like the carers allowance increased.

4.  The Carer's assessment needs replacing - it has not helped at all.

5.   Single points of contact should be set up.  There is a new one coming into being for bereavement.

I wishlist could be even longer but I think you get where I am coming from.

Dianne Craven

Extreme levels of stress are unavoidable, social services and a significant part of the nhs add to that stress in no small way, the lack of any help is one thing but when offers of 'help' are dangled in front of you and then removed before anything happens is downright cruel.  The illness part of caring is one thing, all attention is on the cared for, there are times when I realise that I am considered an insignificant nothing by the salaried world eg ss, nhs etc, the words (usually spoken in higher pitched tone as though i'm deaf and daft) "Yoo th' carewer?", my answer "yeer, whight, i'm th' carewer, before that I was a human being and before that i had a name" doesn't always go down too well but it gets the message across. 

 

i hate it when I've had to call an ambulance and i'm waiting outside for them, i can hear the siren drifting over the fields and i just pray it is for us and follow he sound as it takes forever to get here, we have had an ambulance so often over the years some of the crews know us. My stress levels are through the roof by the time help has got here, not all out of hours doctors and ambulance crews are dementia friendly, A&E can be a nightmare.

 

I also worry for my future, i am sure that i remember a person some years back who planned for retirement, did all the sensible things by saving some and spending some, I had a social life, hobbies and other interests, I had what i thought were friends.  I went through a period of mourning for the person i used to be, I got over that and ended up with an emptiness of spirit.  Our home and life has been so picked over and interferred with that when our home got broken into i couldn't care less, I find that shocking, I should have been horrified and concerned, instead i just felt empty, there were other things to worry about, possessions meant nothing any more, our home seems to have become public property.  I do still wonder what on earth the future will bring, I have years to go before pension age, i will be unemployable, the disgusting amount of Carers Allowance means that savings get eaten away, there won't be any comfortable retirement, what will there be?  At the same time ss have pretty much accused me of being a parasite in my own home, accusations have been made and are not easily defended, do they reaally think anyone would choose to be an unpaid carer?

 

maybe what stresses me most is that i want a break from the continuous and monotonous slog of dealing with dementia, getting by on a couple of hours sleep a night, there isn't respite or help.  To hope for a break is to hope for the death of a loved one, that is something I don't want, it causes insurmountable stress.  Just hoping that my health holds out.  There are jobs to be done, things started and abandoned because the evil dementia has revealed another facet.  There isn't a minute during the day and night that I could truely call my own, even writing this post has been intereupted a couple of time.

Everything you have written in you message, oh my god  can I see in myself. My husband is twice my age.before this nightmare started last year, we had a very happy and strong marraige been married 22years this march. together 25 years. I have been accused by SS for marrying my hubby for his money, bleeding him dry etc etc. and he listens to everything they say as gospel. me I'm a nobody.We always worked together, money was always joint money. What was mine was his and vice versa. I was Treated as the lodger in my own home, in the way with no rights to decide who comes and goes in MY home. My home belongs to them not me.  I don't have a future it been taken away from me. SS have taken away my right to my own savings, access to our joint account, I have nothing left. not even my life. I keep looking round my home and finding that some of My family heirlooms have gone missing, can't say for sure that carers have taken them, but who else. We have to let complete strangers into our homes, and have no choice but to trust them. my feelings completly ignored. I wasn't allowed to be ill that realy was a no no. No medical attention when I needed it. He on the other hand I had to have a doctor on perminant stand by. Why do we carers have to be treated like nobodies of no relivance.I hear so called professionals complaining of stress levels. well news flash you have no Idea of real stress. try being a carer, your life, home, belongings etc are not your own,living on no sleep, no help or proper support. thats stress proper stress, My hubbys not here any more  he's in care home as happy as larry, but I'm still suffering, can't sleep or eat. haven't slept for 4night straight.I miss my once kind gentle  husband more than i can bear. People who you once thought were friends now suddenly ignore you, cross the road to avoid talking to you.. SInce this nightmare started last year I go for weeks without speeking to some one. Sadly judging by the messages on this forum I'm not the only one. Maybe we carers should all go on strike, with draw our labour, then lets see how the SS so called care agencies etc like that. Not to mention the politicians. They all pray on our emotions, and our good natures, and our love of our loved ones.For god sake give us the help WE need and deserve.


Jill D said:

Extreme levels of stress are unavoidable, social services and a significant part of the nhs add to that stress in no small way, the lack of any help is one thing but when offers of 'help' are dangled in front of you and then removed before anything happens is downright cruel.  The illness part of caring is one thing, all attention is on the cared for, there are times when I realise that I am considered an insignificant nothing by the salaried world eg ss, nhs etc, the words (usually spoken in higher pitched tone as though i'm deaf and daft) "Yoo th' carewer?", my answer "yeer, whight, i'm th' carewer, before that I was a human being and before that i had a name" doesn't always go down too well but it gets the message across. 

 

i hate it when I've had to call an ambulance and i'm waiting outside for them, i can hear the siren drifting over the fields and i just pray it is for us and follow he sound as it takes forever to get here, we have had an ambulance so often over the years some of the crews know us. My stress levels are through the roof by the time help has got here, not all out of hours doctors and ambulance crews are dementia friendly, A&E can be a nightmare.

 

I also worry for my future, i am sure that i remember a person some years back who planned for retirement, did all the sensible things by saving some and spending some, I had a social life, hobbies and other interests, I had what i thought were friends.  I went through a period of mourning for the person i used to be, I got over that and ended up with an emptiness of spirit.  Our home and life has been so picked over and interferred with that when our home got broken into i couldn't care less, I find that shocking, I should have been horrified and concerned, instead i just felt empty, there were other things to worry about, possessions meant nothing any more, our home seems to have become public property.  I do still wonder what on earth the future will bring, I have years to go before pension age, i will be unemployable, the disgusting amount of Carers Allowance means that savings get eaten away, there won't be any comfortable retirement, what will there be?  At the same time ss have pretty much accused me of being a parasite in my own home, accusations have been made and are not easily defended, do they reaally think anyone would choose to be an unpaid carer?

 

maybe what stresses me most is that i want a break from the continuous and monotonous slog of dealing with dementia, getting by on a couple of hours sleep a night, there isn't respite or help.  To hope for a break is to hope for the death of a loved one, that is something I don't want, it causes insurmountable stress.  Just hoping that my health holds out.  There are jobs to be done, things started and abandoned because the evil dementia has revealed another facet.  There isn't a minute during the day and night that I could truely call my own, even writing this post has been intereupted a couple of time.

Interesting article on the use of horses in the treatment of conditions like stress, autism and post traumatic stress disorder. 

It also mentions that other animals such as dogs and rabbits are widely accepted to have a calming affect on people. Certainly ties in with what a few of you have said about grooming or walking your dogs as a stress reliever.

Does anyone find that animals help them to stay calm?

No I'm scared of dogs. I was badly savaged when I was much younger, so for me there out of the question. I was very lucky I very nearly lost my right arm.

Sam

 

Thank you, you made me laugh, I know you didn't mean to be funny but it reminded me of something. I read about the suggestion of horses in the relieving of stress, while i love them, mum is scared out of her mind by them.  When she was a small child she was dressed by the family almost as a doll to be showed off, her grandfather  was a carman (I suppose the equivilent of today's owner driver), he hauled china and glass from the docks and would sometimes take mum out with him.  The problem was that the horse had been in WW1 and suffered from shell shock,  Apparently, when the horse heard a loud noise like a road drill it would panic and start shaking, mum had to cling to the cart as her grandfather tried to clam the horse and stop all the china and glass breaking.  Imagine a small child with long ringlets in an Edwardian child's dress worried about what her gran would say if she got her dress dirty and desperately worried  that the horse would gallop away with her. I had forgotten about that story, thank you for reminding me.

 

Personally I like interacting with the birds in the garden, no worries about vet bills, just the investment in a jar of peanut butter.  Robins love the stuff so much that they will sometimes eat from my hand, some years they will actually stand on my hand to eat.  It is lovely to put a small amount of peanut butter on a twig and they will land inches away to eat, they stand outside the window to ask for food, one tries to get the door handle to work to get in the kitchen (he got in once and rather liked it, unfortunatly robins have a continence problem which doesn't make them ideal house guests)

 

In an ideal world owning a pet is a good idea but it takes time and money which are both finite resources.

Yes, having my mother's cat with us does help me a bit sometimes, that is when she isn't under my feet wanting to be fed just at the wrong moment, or when she escapes into the attic and won't come down, or hides somewhere we can't find her just before she has to be put outside, in which case she adds to my stress!  But there's no doubt that my caree (my Mum) benefits greatly from having a cat. 

All of us in our house get a lot of pleasure from watching and interacting with the birds in our garden, especially Mum.  We have a tame female blackbird that knocks on our front door (which is glazed so we can see her through the glass) with her beak when she wants food.  We put raisins out for her.  If we leave the front door open, she even comes into the hall and will take raisins from my hand.  Whenever my mother sees a large bird, such as a pheasant, woodpigeon or red-legged partridge in the garden, she refers to it as a chicken (!) but loves to watch out of the window to see what's there. 

Avril 

Jill - Wow, sounds like a pretty traumatic experience for a child! Impressed that you have managed to get wild birds to eat from your hand, good tip on the peanut butter.

Avril - You and Jill seem to have a way with the birds! I'm surprised you manage to sustain such a large amount of bird activity with a cat in the household. Sounds like they are all good for your Mum though.

I have collected a load of the stress relieving tips that have been suggested so far on the forum and put them in a blog. It would be great if you could have a look and see if there is anything you would add.

Thanks,

Sam 

I certainly find that owning cats or dogs helps with my mood, for the usual reasons that they offer comfort and companionship in return for a caring, loving home and plenty of attention. Dogs also need regular exercise and a walk is both a physical and mental boost for the owner. However, I think there's another, less obvious but more important reason why my dog is so helpful to my mood and this is because she offers a channel for non verbal communication.
Communication between dog and owner is at the heart of the relationship between the two and because of the dog's limited understanding of language, communications relies on facial expressions and body language. I believe that this ability to communicate largely without the use of words helps us to develop our sense of empathy and compassion.
Those without experience of pet ownership may think I'm a bit dotty but I imagine owners of horses may well agree with me. I don't imagine a goldfish or a stick insect would provide the same level of satisfaction!
Sorry if this was a bit lengthy and far off the subject of caring but I think it might resonate with some on this site.
My dog also contributes to human happiness by allowing herself to be stroked and fussed over by my caree.

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