By Cori Marsh.
If you are a family caregiver and have out of town relatives come in for a short visit, have you noticed how much better your loved one seems to be while they are here?

Have you been in a position to ask them for help, or tried to talk to them about this possibly being the time to look for placement outside of the home? Have those “out-of-towners” been resistant to the idea, thinking your loved one really isn’t all that bad, and why can’t you, as the “in-towner’” , just do a little bit more. I lovingly call these visitors seagulls, they swoop in, do what seagulls do best…all over the place at that, and swoop away. Leaving all those impacted feeling sad, disillusioned and overwhelmed…harboring that secret feeling of “I can’t do this anymore”.
And just like that, issues that were wearing you out from your loved one are back in full force.
I have long said that if you are a struggling caregiver all you have to do is take your loved one to the doctor or have out of town family come in and voila!, things become miraculously better…for the duration of the visit.
I am a professional caregiver, and have been for a long time, more than twenty years in fact, but there was a time that I was a family caregiver as well.

My in laws had many maladies over the years.
Meeting their needs, my family’s needs and holding down full time jobs was a real challenge, for both of us. We had periods of daily 60 mile round trips for chemotherapy, many Friday night trips to the ER and the need to keep up with the laundry, food stuffs, doctor appointments, medication distribution and procurement for two families, not one. Everything done out of love with NO regrets, but sometimes with a weariness that defies description. Guilt for not doing more, guilt for secretly wishing you didn’t have to do it all because I love my in laws and really would have done anything for them.

I reached out for help, begged for it in fact. Sometimes I got it, but only on the weekend…and then we were expected to hang around and spend time with the out-of-towners, now I was cooking for three families instead of two, the laundry for three (because yes, they come, leave a mess and go home.) !
Blessings to you as your seagulls visit.

contributed by Cori Mash.
Community Relations Director, Harbor House.
Better People Providing Better Care… my
Specializing in assisted living for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.