My close male friend, mid-50’s, is now a caregiver for his wife. He’s doing the right thing, but I feel badly for him.
He can only be away IF one of their adult children is home that night, so he must plan way ahead for that one night.
Only family who are double-vaccinated can be with her as her drugs have affected her immune system.
She’s 53 and bedridden after an accident which caused chronic back pain. She’s on disability and heavy drugs, which make her constantly drowsy.
He’s been working from home throughout Covid, both because of the pandemic and her care. Meanwhile, her sister is an anti-vaxxer, so my friend has no other helper and he’s doing everything.
I greatly respect that he’s such a responsible person.
Is there anything that I can do to help him?
You can search for a fully-vaccinated health care worker for him to hire for some relief, if his wife can accept a helper.
Of course, the person must be living under Covid protocols - wearing a mask, and not living/socializing with people who are unvaccinated. It’s a tall order but with lots of people receiving less income these past 18 months, one appropriate person might want the job.
Also, if your friend’s adult children can give of their time more often - e.g., both of them taking over for a weekend - they’d give their father a much-needed break. If possible, suggest the idea to him.
Dear Readers - Occasionally a seemingly-simple question draws a huge reaction from people who’ve faced the same social predicament. Following are responses to one of that kind:
FEEDBACK Regarding the chronically late in-laws (August 11):
Reader – “My friend is HOURS late for everything. I was once left waiting in a transit station for over two hours for a shopping trip. She was eight hours late for a weekend get-together. When we arrived for her house party, she was still out food shopping.
“My cousin was a day late when he was supposed to be driving his mother to visit family who live 10 hours away.
“I don’t think they’re controlling, or don’t care about others. I think there’s genuinely something wrong with their ability to plan their time and prepare to do something. They also don’t realize just how impactful it is on others.”
Reader #2 – “I had the same problem with a sister and brother in-law, both chronically late and uncaring of the imposition on others.
“I decided to not be taken hostage by their behaviour and stopped waiting. I encouraged family and friends to start things without them. On future occasions, my sister-in-law would sulk and complain that things started without them. I’d respond that there was no obligation for a host to delay events until they showed up.
“I wouldn't berate her or her husband, just state the obvious, “you’re really late!” I’d then walk away and enjoy events as planned.
“After several gatherings for which they showed up late, my aunt confronted her about the habit. There was a screaming match.
“Then everyone in the family and some friends received emails telling us how rude we were to her, that she wouldn’t be attending events in future and would never talk to us again.
“I don’t think her own lateness ever bothered her, but she considered others’ pointing it out was an evil deed.”
Reader #3 – “These people won’t change and those affected shouldn’t bother trying to understand why. My brother, now 65, has always been late. Recently, he asked to drop in on my sister on the way home from a weekend away. He arrived two hours late, necessitating his staying the night. She must’ve been furious as she has no patience with him!
“One has to employ consequences. He once joined me on holiday and I told him I was taking a bus trip leaving the next day at 9 a.m. He rolled up just as I was boarding and said, “You would’ve gone without me!” and I said “Yes, I told you when we were leaving.”
“Another time, he was to take me to the airport. I told him the time I had to be there and said “I’m relying on you.” Everything was fine. Everyone else would’ve kept on at him about not being late. Consequences do work!”
Tip of the day:
A devoted spouse’s caregiving is admirable. But some relief help is essential to maintaining energy for the task.