Caregivers: Sharing the Care (part 1)

Do you ever feel that you’re in a state of suspended animation?

No matter how many commonalities caregivers have, in the early hours of the day or the late hours of the night when your loved ones need bathed, fed, dressed, toileted, calmed,  cared for, you are pretty much alone. When they need help getting to the doctor, going through the bills, taking medication, you’ve been pretty much by yourself. I know. I was there for nineteen years.

Even though Caregiver Action Network  statistics show “More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year,” as indicated in a 2009 report,  a Caregiver.com article by Kathy Bosworth notes that the majority of caregivers  are  “going it alone.”

“The stress of going it alone is dangerous to your health,” National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners states in their Understanding Caregiver Stress Article.

Professor Marvel and Dorothy

Professor Marvel and Dorothy

That means we’re it—unless we find, ask, or pull assistance instead of a rabbit out of Professor Marvel’s hat. 

My assistance came in the form of Development Homes, a group home in North Dakota. Katie and I jumped into the tornado of change, left husband/father back in Colorado, and landed in Midwest-land, otherwise known as Grand Forks. My good witch of the north wasn’t Glinda, it was Tanya—Katie’s nurse at Development Homes, someone who took Katie’s health and best interest under her wings.

Transitioning from living at home to living in a group home for Katie was an adventure. It was more interesting, more stimulating, more consistent in medical care. It was a horse of a different color and she began to thrive—slept through the night, fewer doctor’s visits, and more magical mastering of day to day challenges.

I broke out in hives.

Trusting others with the care of a loved one is scarier than a pack of flying monkeys, whether it’s for an evening, a weekend, or longer. The emerald lining, for me, was that I went from primary caregiver to being part of a team of caregivers. Still, the very idea of sharing the care in of itself can sound insurmountable.

It seems like more work than it’s worth—additional stress. There is one obstacle in particular that I had, and have heard from others, that keep us from reaching out: Who.

Who do you trust? Nobody can do this as well as you, right?  Valid statement. But since cloning is out, for now the best solution is training.

Stay tuned for sharing the care tools…

 

One thought on “Caregivers: Sharing the Care (part 1)

  1. So happy, wrong word but happy in that “it’s not just me!” feeling to have found your blog and musings. We don’t know anyone like us ’round here (or over there, frankly), so am grateful for this forum. Our youngest has profound DD, global aphasia, no ADLs, etc. and while we’ve become accustomed to what we do — we love him, he’s our child, of course we take care of him, blah blah, it’s still a (necessarily) isolating thing. Thanks for sharing + posting.

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