JetBlue’s Steven Slater was a fed up employee
but also under the stress of caring for his dying
mother. Caregiver stress greatly adds to the
pressures faced in a stressful job. Photo: Facebook
JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, a focal point for worker stress who capped an increasingly frustrating career with an intercom outburst and a slide down the airplane’s emergency exit, is also the caregiver for his mother, stricken with lung cancer.
In a statement that highlights the added stress faced by professionals when they become caregivers for ailing parents, eCareDiary.com has pointed out that “those close to Slater and his California mother described him as a caregiver under stress.”
Also read Caregivers: Dealing with the stress of elder care means caring for yourself
According to Fox News, California neighbors to his mother said that Slater was distressed because his JetBlue job made it impossible to visit her more frequently. Slater was due to fly to California the weekend after the now-famous incident to settle his sick mother’s affairs. A family friend also described Slater as someone who “watched his father die of Lou Gehrig’s disease not long ago.”
ECareDiary quotes AARP’s Elinor Ginzler who says that male caregivers like Steven Slater face unique challenges. Employers often assume that women, care for family members. When men request help or time off for caregiving duties, it may seen as a “sign of weakness or a lack of commitment to the job.” The eCareDiary co-founder also points out that, “this incident highlights a massively underexposed issue of CAREGIVER STRESS.”
In 10 Ways to Deal with Caregiver Stress, from AARP, the first “way to deal” cited is physical activity:
Put your physical needs first. Eat nutritious meals. Don’t give in to stress-driven urges for sweets or overindulge in alcohol. Get enough shut-eye; if you have trouble sleeping at night, try napping during the day. Schedule regular medical checkups. Find time to exercise, even if it means you have to ask someone else to provide care while you work out. If you experience symptoms of depression — extreme sadness, trouble concentrating, apathy, hopelessness, thoughts about death — talk to a medical professional.
Finding ways or time to exercise can be problematic, but excellent ways here in Silicon Valley include the numerous fund raising walks and runs. Taking part in these helps a caregiver get out, socialize, exercise, and still feel like they are connecting to their loved one. The recent Wharf to Wharf run, in which a team of Boulder Creek moms banded together to raise money for a friend with Sjogren’s Disease is a great example. If you’re lost for a place to start, consider the Health Trust’s Labor Day Run for a Healthy World.
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