I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Lisa


I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Lisa

(Editor’s Note: We continue our I Am a Family Caregiver campaign by featuring Lisa Land, who cares for her father. Our questions and her answers follow.)

Lisa_Dad_XmasCaregiving.com: Fill in the blank: I am____.
Lisa: I am strong, tired, busy and blessed.

Caregiving.com: What's the biggest misconception that others have about family caregiver?
Lisa: That it can be easy. This is never easy. It's the hardest job you'll ever do, but also the most rewarding.

Caregiving.com:  What would you like others to understand about your role as a family caregiver?
Lisa: It's more than just "providing care" as in personal care. You're the cook, cleaning lady, laundress, budget analyst, shopper, entertainment planner (with the help of a tv guide), oh and caregiver for the most intimate of needs.

Caregiving.com: How do you describe what family caregivers do?
Lisa: I try to keep focus on what is good for Dad as a whole. Not the best for his diet, by any means but best for him. His favorite breakfast is a honey bun. Nutritious? Not. He deserves to have indulgences he wants. I also try to keep him up to date with current events with the local paper, and the baseball and football games that are coming on now. I'm very blessed as he still has his memory and can entertain himself with these things. My day may look like "glorified babysitting" to some, but actually it entails lots of housework, planning for the household, cooking and more. My daughter is generous enough to help us and is always helping me with shopping, expenses, and also with assistance in Dad's care when she is at home.

Caregiving.com: How can others help you?
Lisa: By listening, I'm so thankful for my friends that I'm in contact with on a weekly basis that support us in this journey. Also, by offering to help. A lot of times I think others are waiting for you to ask and if you've never asked for help with anything before that's hard. Whether it's a trip to the store for you to pick up two items you forgot, help with an activity in the home, or just sitting with your caree for a short time while you go to a hair appointment, it all makes a difference.

Caregiving.com: What's one tip you suggest that helps another family caregiver?
Lisa: Try to set aside some time for you on a regular basis if you can. It could be your weekly worship service while someone stays with your loved one, having a cup of coffee with a friend while you're already out shopping, or if you can't get out and go anywhere, indulge in a good book. Books and music are great escapes when it seems the walls are closing in.

Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Lisa: My Dad is a stroke survivor, as well as a colon cancer survivor. His health has become frail, his body weaker and he needs 24 hour assistance with daily care. In 2009, we lost my sweet mother to a sudden heart attack. In order for Dad to remain at home and not have to go to a nursing home, my daughter and I decided to move in with him and take care of him ourselves. Dad is the last of his family, I'm an only child, and my daughter is as well. So, we have become very "tight knit" so to speak. He's my hero, comedienne and Prince Charming all rolled into one combination. While the days aren't always easy, I can always think of how blessed I am to still have him, at 88 years old, in my life.

Caregiving.com: What do you hope to accomplish during your life?
Lisa: I plan to graduate with a degree in Office Administration in 2015, and I enjoy working with others in the caregiving communities. I currently have a support group for former and present caregivers on Facebook called Inner Strength, and I'm also in the process of writing a book on caregiving that hopefully will help others in their journey.

Visit Lisa’s blog to read more of her caregiving story. Lisa also submitted the winning logo for our #coffeewithacaregiver mug.

(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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Jennifer--So many caregivers are in your shoes. Hang tough. I tell you from experience, however hared it is now, you will one day be so thankful for the time and effort you gave to your mother.--Karen, Former caregiver