Dementia Caregiver: I am a Functioning Worrier!

I’m a functioning worrier, and I’m not the only one. Millions of unpaid caregivers are in the same position. I’m not quite sure how to describe the way I exist now. It’s a world filled with worry, fear and anxiety. It doesn’t seem to be changing. In fact, it’s getting worse. But I can’t let it overcome me. I still have to function because, like so many others, I have no choice as a dementia caregiver.

functioningworrier

The more I hear about Omicron, the more I worry because it’s spreading like wildfire. It seems to be moving much faster than other variants, and so many people I know have it. Any bit of hope I had is snuffed out with this variant

But,

but

but………what about having a life??

Have a life? I don’t think we’ve had that since the beginning of the pandemic, and even before, it was a struggle to find the right support for mum and me.

But, with Omicron, I’m apprehensive again. I don’t care how mild they say it is. I think they’re wrong as at the moment the stats are all about the younger generation and people are still being hospitalised.

So I worry, would it be a surprise if the government got this wrong again and didn’t listen to medical experts who disagreed with their policies?

So I worry…

At the moment, I’m struggling on whether to let the care workers who come to help with mum’s personal care back into our home. I decided just before Christmas to isolate myself with mum again because the figures for the Omicron variant were doubling every few days.

I’d been umming and ahhing about it, as I’d got used to having some help again after over a year on my own.

But my fears were reignited when one of the care workers told us that despite her boyfriend’s whole family coming down with it, she wouldn’t have to isolate herself despite being in contact if she showed no symptoms and was fully vaccinated.

I was rather shocked because all I could think was – what if you’re asymptomatic? I cancelled the care package straight after she left, to me, it was only going to be a matter of time before she got infected, and a surgical mask wouldn’t prevent that from spreading to mum.

Why the government has not shifted from its stance and not issued essential workers with FFP2 masks as standard by now is just crazy!

So now, they’re coming back next week, and I have to decide whether to allow it. The care company is obviously losing revenue and could allocate our time to someone else who needs it, and then they won’t have space for us. I feel guilty and worry that if I don’t reinstate it next week as agreed that they may withdraw their services altogether.

So what do I do? This will seem like a crazy dilemma to some who would just say get them back in!

But I have to be a protector for mum. I mean, why did we sacrifice so much over the last two years?

Yes, we’ve been vaccinated and boosted. I know logically I shouldn’t be living with this worry, always fearful, of anyone who walks through that door that they’ll pass Covid onto mum. I know my mental health is suffering because of it.

I keep thinking the worst that if mum gets it, she won’t survive with all her other health issues or develop long Covid like 1.3 million people in the UK are now and suffers significantly from that.

But, I’ve also hurt my back and have trouble standing for more than a few minutes without pain. Taking care of mum is extremely physical for one person.

So up until lunchtime today, I had decided that I was exaggerating my fears, my worries, we must be past the peak by now, and I should let them back in. I mean come on families across the UK have survived with care workers, and some didn’t even have a choice as they wouldn’t have had any care without them.

Then the latest Welsh Coronavirus press conference said the words that I feared.

They expected the peak of the Omicron variant to hit in the next 10-14 days, and given that South Wales has always been one of the Covid black spots, what are the chances for us then?

So I called the care company to postpone the care package again. They were reassuring and perfectly understanding about my worry and anxiety associated with having people in our home. They didn’t try to pressurise me in anyway, or imply that I would lose the contract, they were very lovely about it and for that I’m thankful.

So my situation stays the same, I’m still a functioning worrier, my anxiety & fears will bubble up to the top, but I’ve learnt to live with them as mum’s dementia caregiver. I still need to clean, cook, reassure, entertain and look after mum. That role will never stop.

It’s about me learning how to deal with my worries so that they don’t impact mum’s care – so that’s why I describe myself as a functioning worrier.

Everyday, the worry of mum getting ill is there in the background but it just one of the many worries that permeate my day looking after mum & myself.

What about you? Do you have the same feelings?

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