Caregiver Wisdom

Personal Experience in Caring for My Close Relatives

This personal story is two different stories with two different twists. Since my childhood I have always been close to my grandmother. Throughout my teens and adulthood I learned what diabetes was and how to deal with that situation and how to care for an individual who has that illness. Before I used to panic and just call the ambulance, but now I know how to deal with it and learnt all the steps that I seen my mother do as she cares for her, too.

Resident Caregiver vs. Primary Caregiver

I wanted to share a bit about how I thought I knew how to be a caregiver professionally and/or privately. How different they actually turned out to be!

I began working as a CNA in a LTCF at the age of 16. I loved every minute of it. It was hard, the daily duties ever-changed, but helping those who could not help themselves was so rewarding! Through the twists and turns of life I found myself in a big career change, but I also found a wonderful man with whom I chose to spend my life.

Hidden Beauty

Becoming a paid caregiver again after so many years helped me to realize that my “calling” is to help others who cannot help themselves. I got employed at a facility that housed five residents. The grounds were magnificent. A pool and redwoods surrounding property. Each step you take is of beauty and calmness.

Each unique resident/person was loving, caring, and adorable. I became close to these angels, some of them so fast you would've assumed I was employed for years.

When the Caregiving is Over

My parents died in February 2016 after years of ill health and disability. My experience as their caregiver is no different than many others. Sharing that experience isn’t the purpose of this message. I want to share what I observed and learned when I cleared the house of all the “treasures” put away “for good” and never used. Here goes. Thanks for your patience.

Returning the Love

April 2005 my mom was driving to work (age 62 at the time) and we think blacked out or something from her diabetes and creeped into an intersection from a stop sign and was struck by a garbage truck.

She ended up in the back passenger seat position, femur impaled in the door, collapsed lung, and many other injuries ... over 90 minutes and two jaws-of-life devices to extract her from the car, helicoptered to the hospital, and miraculously survived through surgeries and physical therapy can walk (with a cane, but can walk).

Sculpting: An Expression of My Experience with Alzheimer’s

Art has fascinated me since childhood, but it was only later in adulthood that art became important as a personal form of expression. I discovered I could sculpt about the same time we discovered my husband, Don, had Alzheimer’s. Sculpting then, for me, became both an escape from his illness and a connection to him. Art, always our strong common bond, became, even in his illness, a welcoming doorway for us both into a wider world of art. It became a way to experience some moments of joy even as we plummeted, tethered together, into the black vortex of his disease.

The Love of My Life

My story started in 2005 when I lost all feeling below my armpits. . . . They believe I threw a blood clot to my spine because of something in my clotting system.

My husband became my caregiver.

I was in the hospital and rehab for six months. While in rehab he went to classes to learn how to take care of me totally. He is wonderful man and over the last 10 years has dedicated himself to me.

On to LIVING more tomorrows

2015 was a tumultuous year for our family. I had retired from my job as an RN the previous fall, had spent a delightful winter in the south (as Wisconsin winters were no longer welcome to our bodies or souls!) and returned to our home to be caregivers to our house and gardens. This was going to be a long awaited dream retirement until July.

Sometimes we can even find friends or neighbors that have the same in common

When our caregiving journey first began, it was pleasant and pretty cool. Started commuting from my apartment visiting both of my folks helping with bringing dinner, doing laundry, etc. One day at work, got a phone call saying my mom needed emergency surgery and eventually ended up having to leave work permanently. Her health condition declined off and on from then on for several years.

A passionate advocate for family caregivers

I became a caregiver when my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) in 1999. We had no idea what to expect. We were both working full-time with a son in elementary school. The first few years were pretty easy with no progression and few obvious symptoms. After his father passed away in 2001, the progression began. Part of PD is REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which is a sleep issue that causes the Person With Parkinson’s (PWP) to act out their nightmares. It’s accompanied by yelling, cursing, thrashing, punching, and any number of other disturbing behaviors.


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