I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Christine

Denise

I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Christine

Denise
(Editor’s Note: We continue our I Am a Family Caregiver campaign by featuring Christine Cooper, who cares for her husband and her mom. Our questions and her answers follow.)

Christine and her mom. Christine and her mom.


Caregiving.com: Fill in the blank: I am____.
Christine: I am a caregiver to two of the most important people in my life: my 84-year-old mother who is macular blind and my 62-year-old husband who has dilated cardiomyopathy.

Caregiving.com: What's the biggest misconception that others have about family caregiver?
Christine: That it's easy to be a live-in caregiver.

Caregiving.com: What would you like others to understand about your role as a family caregiver?
Christine: That there is a fine line I walk between being a caregiver and being a daughter and a wife. It's hard not to take things personal sometimes. I want them to be as self-sufficient as they can be and make sure they are doing well. It was hard to learn not to hover or smother.

Caregiving.com: How do you describe what family caregivers do?
Christine: I am chief cook and bottle washer, dietician, menu planner, baker, gardener, laundrymat, cruise director, entertainment committee, social secretary, travel agent, pharmacist, med dispenser (sometimes called Nurse Rachett), appointment setter, pet tender, shopper, chauffeur, errand runner, liaison between family members and friends via social network, researcher, accountant, housekeeper, mailman, delivery person, referee. And if I've forgotten something it's because I am also exhausted.

Caregiving.com: How can others help you?
Christine: Give me a break on a regular basis not just once in a while. Don't get me wrong I love what breaks I get but it would be nice to plan something on a regular basis. So I could join a book club, the Y, the Hells Angels. OOOPS!

Caregiving.com: What's one tip you suggest that helps another family caregiver?
Christine: When you get even a few minutes of free time take them and use them just for you.

Christine shared this photo in our Beautiful group yesterday. "My mom, Trudy, in the white sweat shirt and my husband, James, in the black hat got to mark off a hot air balloon ride from their bucket list., " she explains. "They had a great time and are still flying high two days later." Christine shared this photo in our Beautiful group yesterday. "My mom, Trudy, in the white sweat shirt and my husband, James, in the black hat got to mark off a hot air balloon ride from their bucket list., " she explains. "They had a great time and are still flying high two days later."


Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Christine: A year ago my husband and I moved from Idaho to Ohio to move in with my mother. She is macular blind. My dad passed 1 1/2 years prior. She tried living on her own and ended up sick in the hospital. My husband had been diagnosed with DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) three years prior. We owned our own plumbing company at the time. Finally my husband admitted he could no longer work. We sold the company and just about everything we owned and moved to Ohio to take care of Mom. In the past year my husband's heart condition has worsened to stage 3 heart failure. Both my mother and husband are able to get around for short distances and we are able to get out and about together. We actually take as many road trips as we can to break up our days. On his good days my husband drives; if not, I do.

Caregiving.com: What do you hope to accomplish during your life?
Christine: I hope to be the best daughter and wife I can be without losing myself in the process. As my journey continues I hope to help the two people I love the most in this world be comfortable and live out their lives with fun and dignity (especially the fun part).

Connect with Christine on her profile page: @dgoddess42.

(We’d love to feature your story in our campaign–just complete our “I Am a Family Caregiver” campaign questionnaire. If you are a working family caregiver, feel free to also share your story as part of our Hire a Family Caregiver campaign.)

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3 Comments

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jan

Thanks for sharing your story, Christine. I hope the part of Ohio you live in offers alot of fun and stimulating opportunities for your family. It appears that you are quite the multi-tasker of joy and creativity. I didn't notice any references as to how your husband and mother get along, so I'm assuming they relate peacefully with each other, or at least you are negotiating that smoothly as well. I hope you feel the satisfaction you deserve for what you accomplish every single day.

Denise

Thank you so much, <a href='http://www.m40.siteground.biz/~caregiv6/members/dgoddess42/' rel=\"nofollow\">@dgoddess42</a>, for sharing your story. It's been wonderful getting to know you. :)