Sometimes a ‘comment’ can be so insightful it merits promotion to an entry. Sue’s comment touched two critical points of the transition, family help and caregiver health.
Things have really changed since the turn of the century. Now we don't have the extra maiden aunts, dependent widows, or others in the home to take care of someone. I understand the issue to go to a nursing facility. My mother finally took my step-dad to a facility when the doctor said NO MORE; you have to think of your own health as well as his.
Comment from analeighia - 3/22/05 10:35 AM
Two years ago Patti’s neurologist in the middle of an appointment turned to me and flatly put it, “This is no longer about Patti’s health. The best thing you can do for Patti is to take care of yourself and your responsibilities to her and your daughter.”
Applying for a LTC (long term care) insurance policy a year ago, I learned that actuarial statistics penalize 24/7 ‘home caregiving’ as an insurance health risk like smoking or obesity.
Changes in the nuclear American family, in general, have certainly had a ripple effect upon home care. Then again maybe ‘the American family’ was only a figment of our culture, something that drifted in a nostalgic blend of literature, TV, and movies until you actually need 24/7 care.
Family, friends, and neighbors are too busy with their OWN lives to depend on for ‘attended 24/7 care’. Help and ‘attended 24/7 care’ are different worlds. Dropping by with a meal for a sick friend is a different world from ‘taking a shift’ of attended 24/7 care.
Progression and caregiving needs will be unique to each person. Cookie cutter formulas would be nice but that’s not going to happen. Just as needs are unique, each caregiver has unique strengths and weaknesses.
With MS the BEST solution is to slow progression early in the disease. Today there are multiple medicines available offering such hope. Patti had none available to her in the early stages of MS. If you can slow progression, then caregiving needs may be of much less concern later.
P.S. Sue (analeighia) is a home caregiver her spouse has Parkinson's. You can find a link to their journal “A Day In My Life …” to the right or just click here A Day In My Life … Grab yourself a lime and coke and visit. You’ll find courage, wisdom, and love.