Caregiver Wisdom

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.

My Caregiving Story: A Granddaughter’s Experience

February 13, 2015 marked the one year anniversary of my grandfather passing away. I am 32 years old, and I cared for him for approximately three years along with other family and VNA services. My husband and I bought his house and moved in with him and his dog for what we thought would be a stress free situation. My husband and I had only been married for one year, and also started a family during this time. My grandfather was an easy going, appreciative 92 year old man who was legally blind and had limited mobility.

Caregiver training could have saved his life

I believe that anyone that is a family caregiver, should be properly trained. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and after fighting for two years, he received a bone marrow transplant. He was put up in a hotel suite for recovery. Well, on Easter when I walked into the hotel suite, I noticed that my husband was sweating quite a bit. Had me and his brother had the proper medical training we would have known that his blood pressure was high and that he was on the break of having a heart attack way before he had one. I believe that the proper training could have saved his life.

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