Watch a type-A person fizzle…

How many of you have had a conversation something like this:

You: Sigh. I’m so tired. I just don’t know how I am going to keep taking care of (mom/dad/aunt/grandma, etc). What am I going to do? It just never ends and there’s nobody to help me. I hate this. But then I feel guilty for hating this. Oh I forgot. No, I’m not able to make that get-together this weekend. I don’t have anyone to sit with (mom/dad/aunt, etc).

Friend: I’m sorry, what did you say? I wasn’t listening. I sort of tuned you out. All you do is talk about caring for your relative and I don’t want to hear it anymore. You complain too much. Can’t you just relax a little bit?? You are a downer to be around.


Okay, this example is a bit harsh but it is to prove a point. Several years ago I was having a conversation with a friend. They relayed a story about a colleague of theirs who was in the thick of caring for parents. That person was overwhelmed (and rightly so). All they did was vent about their situation.

The result? My friend expressed that it was tough to be around that person.


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The REAL Deal

Folks, here’s the deal – the REAL deal. Being a caregiver is exhausting.

Depending on whom you are caring for the physical aspects can be tough.

Unlike commercials that show a family member or in-home care staff watching television, playing cards or going for walks with an elder and it’s all smiles-and-giggles, for many caregivers reality looks and feels much different. Let’s keep it REAL.

For some, it might mean gently helping a loved one stand or sit to prevent a fall. For others, it may be a full-assist: literally hoisting someone up from bed, up from a wheelchair, onto or up from a commode. The list goes on and on.

When was the last time you tried moving 100 pounds or more? Try it – it’s not easy.

Emotionally, it can sometimes make you feel like a big-rig truck ran over you, then backed up and hit you again!

That pretty much sums up how I was feeling the day I decided to turn on my camera and go raw. In this moment, I was just DONE. TOAST.

March, 2020

I was about three months into having accepted the situation of mom’s health and mobility declining to a point in which I could no longer care for her at home. She was living at a nearby facility. That alone was eating me up inside.

I felt as if I had let Miss Nellie down. But it had simply become too dangerous and physically impossible for me to safely care for her at home.

Northern California, 2020

At the location, I was the squeaky wheel for the staff and administrators. I wanted to ALWAYS make sure things were okay for my mother. It was what I call – a love/hate relationship.

Luckily, I managed to carve out a mutually respectful relationship with the team and I am forever thankful for their work and support.

The meltdown

The Meltdown Incident happened on a Friday. About 3pm. My work as a news anchor for the early morning broadcast meant I started work at about 3AM. That meant I got up each day at about 1AM. So by 3PM at the end of a full week – I was FRIED.

So during the visit with my mother I could see she was having a bad day and I started to melt. For a type-A person who is used to being in control, finding solutions and working to always have a contingency plan… in this moment I had none of those things.

What I did have, was fear, exhaustion, anger, frustration, hopelessness and an overwhelming sense of sadness. Something told me no matter what I did from this point forward, the march of time was going to take my mother from me. I just didn’t know when.

Help that ‘downer’ back up

All of this to say, if you know anyone who is a caregiver to a loved one… show that person some compassion. STOP and be thoughtful of what they are going through.

  • Offer to help (if you can).

  • Offer to be an ear if that person needs to just vent.

  • Don’t judge them. You have no idea what they are feeling until you have lived it.

  • Understand they are likely tired, stressed and probably perpetually sad.

The caregiving journey has the power to break even the strongest of us. Be kind and supportive to those who are on this road.

Until next time,