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 DuVal, who cares for her husband and parents. Our questions and her answers follow.)

Lisa_I_AmCaregiving.com: Fill in the blank: I am____.
Lisa: I am a wife, daughter, sister, nerd.

Caregiving.com: What's the biggest misconception that others have about family caregiver?
Lisa: That we sit around most of the time doing nothing. In my experience sometimes helping someone is just BEING with them and that's what people see; so they tend to jump to conclusions and think caregivers sit on their butts a lot of the time. They don't see all the other tasks caregivers do such as doctor appointments, helping with activities of daily living, etc.

Caregiving.com: What would you like others to understand about your role as a family caregiver?
Lisa: I would like health care providers to understand that just because I don't have a medical degree doesn't mean that in some cases I might understand what's going on with a loved one health wise. Caregivers are a little more familiar with their relative's history than medical providers. And the caregivers might provide information that could help lead to a better treatment plan.

Caregiving.com: How do you describe what family caregivers do?
Lisa: Family caregivers are nurses, financial managers, advocates, housekeepers, cooks--basically we're the whole package.

Caregiving.com: How can others help you?
Lisa: Stop giving unsolicited advice.

Caregiving.com: What's one tip you suggest that helps another family caregiver?
Lisa: If you're feeling stressed out don't keep it bottled up--talk to someone, either online or in person. If you don't talk about your feelings there's a chance you could turn into a babbling, incoherent monkey. Believe me. I know.

Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Lisa: I became a caregiver for my maternal grandmother in 2003 at the age of 28. Other relatives followed--grandfather, parents, and husband. I now help care for my husband, father, and mother. My mother, husband, and I share a house--us upstairs and my mother in an apartment downstairs. My dad lives a few minutes away. I help him mostly with paperwork, financial issues and doctor appointments.

Caregiving.com: What do you hope to accomplish during your life?
Lisa: To keep educating myself to be the best advocate I can be for my family and to use my experience as a caregiver in a suitable job.

(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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Hi, Lisa! Thank you for all you do. You are a role model...........