Caregiver Deal

Caregiver Deal means different things to different folks and families. To many it means this is what they do, no questions asked. senior caregiver and spouseThey take care of their spouse, end of story. For other people they see a Caregiver Deal being shared responsibilities within the family and community. Recently a client’s husband sent me a note saying;”Because of my “care giver’s stress” I’m on oxygen and taking pills. You never told me this was part of the deal!”

He was only half joking. Many people told him about Caregiver stress and that he needs to get some help because it will likely start affecting his health. He was told the research statistic that nearly 7 out of 10 primary caregivers predecease the person they are caring for. The Caregiver Deal is not one for the weak or faint hearted.

Making a Better Deal

The original Caregiver Deal this gentleman made for himself was to be the sole caregiver. He didn’t even want help from family as he felt his wife’s well-being is solely his responsibility. He reasoned that he is retired and has the time to do the “chores”.  His wife has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It wasn’t until this winter in Florida that her disease progressed into wandering, some incontinence and not being able to be left alone.  A few anxious nights of finding her at a neighbor’s house or cleaning up the bathroom pushed this husband towards the realization that his wife needed more care than he was equipped to provide by himself.

Though not ready to consider an Adult Day Center Program, he was ready to use her Long Term Care insurance policy and hire minimal help. To his great surprise, the first aide is a terrific match for his wife and he enjoys having her there too.  The aide assists his wife with showering, dressing, getting to the bathroom on time – (ADL care), doing laundry and cooking a big lunch.  All which gives him needed respite time.   He appreciates the time now to focus on his own health issues which worsened this winter along with his wife’s decline. Needless to say, his adult daughters who are both in the Northeast are relieved to have some assistance in the home, for both parent’s benefit.

Renegotiating the Caregiver Deal

Their situation has been stabilized by a combination of factors which include some tech devices in the home for safety and monitoring along with hiring a trained caregiver/aide.  Although he and his wife would be further helped by an increase in the schedule, he wants to wait it out until they return north for the summer. He is much more open now to his daughter’s assistance and of looking into programs for dementia in their primary community, including a Caregiver Support Group.  Unfortunately, he learned by his own situation that caregiver stress is real, it causes or exacerbates medical conditions which caused him on to more medication and Oxygen. He has a better command though of his Caregiver Deal and how better to manage his wife’s care and his needs as well.