I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Tami


I Am a Family Caregiver: Meet Tami

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

Tami_I_Am Tami and her son, Brandon, at Comic Con last month in Chicago. "A couple of years ago I started watching The Walking Dead with Brandon," Tami says. "We were able to meet our favorite character, Hershel who is played by Scott Wilson. This was an awesome day for both of us. We had so much fun meeting him!"

Caregiving.com: Fill in the blank: I am____.
Tami: I am a Mom, Daughter, Friend, Conversationalist, Music Lover, Author, Radio Host, Business Owner, Adventurer.

Caregiving.com: What's the biggest misconception that others have about family caregiver?
Tami: I am not sure if this is a misconception, rather a matter of perspective. I think that it is really truly hard to understand what it is like to be a caregiver until you step into that role. Even though I worked in the senior care industry for over 15 years I didn't truly understand what a caregiver goes through until I became one myself for my son.

Caregiving.com: What would you like others to understand about your role as a family caregiver?
Tami: That the loved ones that we care for have a way of caring for us in return. My son is funny, I mean hilarious. He has learned how to use this humor to brighten my day or ease the tension and stress that I may feeling.

Caregiving.com: How do you describe what family caregivers do?
Tami: There are so many things that we do as caregivers. We are secretaries, handling insurance appointments and supplies. We are coaches as we help guide our loved ones to success whether it is therapy after surgery or how to be successful with a chronic illness for the rest of their lives. We are therapists, and problem solvers and outside-of-the-box thinkers.

Caregiving.com: How can others help you?
Tami: I think that others can help me by listening. There are days and times in which I just need to talk, share or even vent. Just being there to hear what I am going through is tremendous gift. Just like Jane, I am not going to reach out and ask for help, and even if you were to ask me for help I would say that I have everything covered. Sending me a note, or stopping by with an occasional Little Caesar's pizza and diet pop would make the day easier.

Caregiving.com: What's one tip you suggest that helps another family caregiver?
Tami: Reach out to other caregivers. Through caregiving.com I have met some wonderful people that I have been able to connect with. I have been able to find a place to connect with others when I need to and in whatever way is most comfortable to me. That is priceless. There are some days I want to connect and talk and other days just quietly reading other stories has been a wonderful gift.

Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Tami: I care for my son who was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with Type 1 Diabetes. As a single parent this has been difficult to find balance and care for him. He was very angry about this diagnosis and I was fearful. I knew quickly that I would have to change our lifestyle. I needed to find a way to be home more to help guide him through this disease and financially care for my family. This led to me starting my own business.

Not only is my role as a caregiver to watch over him by waking up in the middle of the night to take his blood sugar and make adjustments, I take care of insurance, deal with appointments and order supplies. It is also about teaching him and guiding him so that he will be successful in caring for himself as he grows and leaves the nest.

Caregiving.com: What do you hope to accomplish during your life?
Tami: I hope to be able to help others and watch my son and daughter grow in their lives. I also look forward to new adventures in my life.

(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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