Bursack: Spill Damage Prevents Carpenter from Doing Projects at Home


Dear Carol: My husband is an experienced carpenter, so there is rarely a problem at home that he can not fix. Now that changed because he had a stroke a year ago, which took away most of his ability to use his tools. He gets upset when he realizes the things around our house that need to be remedied because he can not do the job. I can live with imperfections but seeing the look on your face when our front door swollen door or a crack in the deck makes me want to cry. We can afford to get the job done, but he refuses to consider it. Is it better to just leave, what hurts him, or should I insist on fixing things at the risk of hurting him even more? – CT.

Dear CT: I'm so sorry for both of you. We all know that this is how life can work, but that does not make it easier to accept reality when those losses happen to us.

It is essential that your husband take the time to focus on maintaining his health by following the directives of his doctors, which may include diet and exercise as well as physical and / or occupational therapy. The added challenge of discovering a new normal for your life and for your relationship means that he already has his work cut out for him, but he understandably wants more.

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Your husband is accustomed to the traditional role of being the fixer at home. Someone who has worked with his hands as he can even see the loss of his ability to use his tools to build and fix things around his house as a major blow to his manhood and self esteem. Perhaps you can help him understand that although his body does not work as well as he does, he has not lost access to everything he has learned over the years of his experience.

Now is the time for him to transition from a practical role to his domestic repairs, perhaps to a foreman role. Since you said you can afford to have home repairs and improvements for others, make a list of what needs to be fixed now, and what kinds of improvements you would like to see to keep your home safe. and comfortable for the two of you in your later years. He could then start building a team of people he could hire to be part of his project manual. If he can accept his new role as valid and important, he can also become more receptive to his new normal.

People who have suffered stroke are at high risk for depression. So encourage your husband to seek help from a counselor if his perspective does not improve over time. In addition, consider a stroke survivor support group. Colleagues who understand what her husband faces can offer tremendous comfort as well as practical ideas.

Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran caretaker and an established columnist. She is also a blogger and author of "Minding Our Elders: Caregiverss Share Their Personal Stories." Bradley Bursack hosts a website to support caregivers and elders at www.mindingourelders.com. It can be found at [email protected]


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