January 1, 2012 through February 3, 2012 our family was shown what sort of dedication parents can have to care for their children on many levels. I was placed on strict bed rest as a result of a complicate triplet pregnancy. I spent most of that time confined to my bed at home with very little ability to care for or interact with my 3-year old daughter. My aunt blessed us with some new board books and this is how we spent most of our days – reading books in a pile of blankets and pillows. She loved to build a nest and snuggle up.
I had breakfast and lunch in bed and took a 15 minute break at the table for dinner with the family once in a while. Needless to say this was really hard on our family. What do you do when you’re the sole care giver for a young child and you can no longer care for them let alone yourself? We called in the forces and our parents responded with the love and attention we needed. We are forever grateful for their help. I went from calling day cares and nannies with non-stop stress and worry to knowing that we were in good hands with our parents here to help.
According to the article I read, Women Are Caregivers, But Who Cares for Them?, caregivers can spend 40 hours or more per week providing care to family members. That was certainly true for my parents and in-laws who took turns caring for me every other week full time.
Caregiving by family members is a rapidly growing experience. A recent AARP study showed that there are about 42.1 million family caregivers in the United States (most of them women ages 40 to 60) providing care to an adult with limitations, and 29 percent of those caregivers spend 40 hours or more per week providing that care. This means that about one-third of Americans, mostly women, can list caregiving as an unpaid, full time job.
Nora loved playing with her Grandma Jane and Nana Kathy. They’re some pretty fun ladies and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. My parents are retired and my in-laws were able to schedule work around the time that they spent with us and we were blessed with free care that came with love and attention. As I was desperately trying to take care of all of my children, they were doing the same. The power of a mother’s love has no limits!
Of course we were also blessed with two papas who helped play games and entertain Nora. The line between care giver and grandparent was sometimes a tough one to define. I imagine this is true for those whose roles are reversed where child is caring for parent. My sister-in-law is living in the midst of this balancing act as she cares for her children and her parents. How does one prepare for the stress of these situations emotionally or financially?
With nannies running an upwards of $100/day I’m so thankful our family was able to help us. We have piles of bills from the resulting medical costs of our ordeal and those are hard enough to handle at the moment. Do you have plans for long-term care if you or a family member were to need it?
Genworth Financial provides tips on caregiving
Top Habits of a Good Caregiver
A good caregiver:
- Doesn’t see caregiving as a burden
- Is a good listener
- Will not take things personally
Click to see more.