A Caregiving.com Story from G-J

Denise

A Caregiving.com Story from G-J

Denise
(Editor’s Note: We’ve asked current and former members and visitors to share their stories of how Caregiving.com has helped. Today, we share a story from @G-J, who cares for her husband.)


My family in a photo from 2012. My family in a photo from 2012.


I found caregiving.com in the spring of 2010. In December of 2009, my 55-year-old husband was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, a possible Alzheimer's precursor. We had a son in eighth grade. I was living the life of a stay-at-home mom, involved in PTA, volunteering as a Boy Scouts of America merit badge counselor, keeping house, taking care of my Dad, and getting together with friends.

My dad had passed away in September 2009 and my mom had passed away 25 months before that. During the 25 months I was my dad's caregiver, I had no clue what I was doing or even if I was really a caregiver since he didn't live with me, but in a senior apartment 12 minutes away. (Denise told me that I did participate in her annual caregiver survey while I was my dad's caregiver. I know I didn't provide the most positive responses!)

As much help as I received from the Alzheimer's Association, I wasn't meeting anyone like me, someone raising a child and juggling the needs of a disabled, depressed husband. Every time I would ask to meet someone like myself, I was told I was in a "unique situation". I knew I wasn't the only person in the world in my situation! Caregiving.com helped me find others like myself.

Through Caregiving.com I found other moms being caregiver to their spouse and raising children. I met others who, while not in the same situation, completely understood my situation and could offer both support and advice. I have made some incredible friends through Caregiving.com, doing exactly what I've told my son not to do, "Don't meet people on the internet!" Although I've met only one couple in person that I've met here, I am close to many of the other members and can't imagine my life without them.

And I don't want to imagine my life without Caregiving.com! Denise, and her website have been, and continue to be a lifesaver! I have had so many opportunities that have been presented since getting involved with Caregiving.com. I became a blogger (although you haven't seen me much lately), I've been a guest on Table Talk, have co-hosted the Sandwich Shop BlogTalk Radio show with Denise and the chat, have co-authored the book "After the Diagnosis", contributed to the Caregifters book series and created #coffeewithacaregiver. In addition, my husband and I have been on two panel discussions at two Regional Alzheimer's Research Conferences, have been on the news (he spoke, I didn't!) and I've been the welcoming speaker at a Walk to End Alzheimer's! I would not have done any of these things without the confidence I've acquired and the support I've received from everyone at Caregiving.com.

My life is different now than it was before my husband’s diagnosis. I’m still a stay-at-home mom but I’m looking into a flexible/part-time job. Our son has graduated from high school and is starting college at the end of the month. I volunteer at the Senior Center, where I teach a class I created from what I was learning about the brain, “Keep Your Brain Buff”. This class has made friends out of strangers. I teach a writing class for the Alzheimer’s Association for people with early stage memory loss and their caregivers. I volunteer at the high school in the scholarship office and help each year’s senior class. And this is only a partial list of what now keeps me busy! There is a depth and a richness to my life that wasn’t there before. Would I choose this? No. But I have grown and changed because of it. And Caregiving.com has played a big part in that development.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Denise, for the community you have created through Caregiving.com. It has changed my life.

Happy Birthday!

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