But, That's What We Do!


But, That's What We Do!

help-164755_640The documentary, "The Genius of Marian," tells the story of Pam White, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimr's disease. Her son, the filmmaker, shows his mom as she adjusts and declines and his father as he takes on more and more of her care.

At one point, his father explains his perspective on caregiving. A staff member at the Alzheimer's Association suggested he hire a home health aide to help with Pam's care so he could focus on just being her husband, he said. He declined, explaining that as long as he can do it, he will.

At that moment, I thought: "But that's what he does as a husband--he takes care of his wife."

Last week, I participated on an ElderCare Forum at a large financial services company in Chicago. A rep from a home health company shared that she recently encouraged a working family caregiver to use her services so that the family caregiver could concentrate on just being a daughter.

At the moment, I thought: "But that's what I do as a daughter--I take care of my parents."

I wonder how you feel about these suggestions from professionals--that we let others do the hands-on care so we focus on our relationship. I'm all about having help--I look at the help as helping me continue to help. I struggle with the idea of delegating help so that I remain the daughter. Because I help and care, I am a daughter. I don't want to be replaced, I just want to be helped.

What about you? What do you think?

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In 2013, my husband had a massive stroke that left his right side paralyzed. Four months in different hospitals, trach and feeding tubes inserted in him, our Insurance Company informed me that because he wasn't progressing as much as they expected and he needed to go home. If I couldn't handle it, then I could send him where ever I wanted, but that they would no longer pay for any more hospital or nursing care costs. \r\n\r\nPrior to us getting married, my husband and I both agreed that if anything happened to the Other that we would take care of them and not put them in a nursing home. The hospital that he was in gave me 48 hours to make a decision and get him moved out. I knew that home was the only choice, just not too sure how I was going to handle taking care of him with the tubes and being paralyzed.\r\n\r\nSomehow, this lady who represented a Company that helps people find nursing homes for their love ones got my phone number and called me prior to my husband being discharged. I will never forget that call because she sounded very sympathetic telling me how her husband had a stroke just like mine did and how difficult it would be for me to take care of him and then she said to me \"The best thing that I did for myself and my marriage was to put him in a nursing home and let somebody else take care of him. That way, I can go on living my life and see him when I want too.\" \r\n\r\nAt the time, I was going through so much in my head, but her words just disgusted me! I told her then that a nursing home was not an option and she said Okay, you have my number and if you need me you can give me a call. I never had any intention of calling her, but she didn't stop there. She forwarded my name and phone number out to local Nursing Homes in the area who proceeded to call me and try to schedule an appointment for me to go in to view their facilities. I don't know how many calls I received from people wanting me to visit them; one guy actually told me that \"There would be no pressure\". A very difficult time in my life and was I was dealing with these people who just wouldn't stop until I had to step up and put them in their place.\r\n\r\nI've been taking care of my husband for the past 2 years and all though it's been difficult, trying and everything else, I'm one that believes that family (If they can) should take care of family. I do have a part time caregiver that comes into my house for a few hours Monday thru Friday just so that I can continue working in order to pay the bills.