Meet Joan, a Family Caregiver and National Caregiving Conference Attendee

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Meet Joan, a Family Caregiver and National Caregiving Conference Attendee

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joan_tom_kochOur First Annual National Caregiving Conference happens on December 2 and 3 in Chicago. In anticipation of our event, we'll share profiles of the family caregivers who will be attending. Today, we're happy to introduce you to Joan Koch, who cares for her husband and lives in Iowa. Our questions and her answers follow.

Caregiving.com: Tell us about your caregiving situation.
Joan: My husband, Tom, has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and spent nearly three years in a couple of nursing homes. Finances were tight and he ended up being released to my care two years ago. It was nothing short of frightening at first. You see, Tom is unable to walk, obese, and is fecal and urinary incontinent. Three mornings a week a shower aid helps me with bathing, dressing and getting Tom in his electric wheelchair. The rest of the week he stays in bed. Toileting is done in bed. I use special pads instead of a bedpan since he had had such terrible sores on his backside when he first came home. I have to irrigate his Foley catheter daily since it has a tendency to get blocked. Along with the catheter comes draining the collection bag several times a day and of course watching for signs of infection. Medications are several times a day and I give him a shot for his MS every other day. Then there is the usual cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping and finances.

Caregiving.com: Why is it important for you to attend our National Caregiving Conference?
Joan: It has been over two years since I have had any time to myself. I am excited to be able to meet with people that are also in caregiving situations and I am so ready to be filled up by a conference geared to lift me up.

Caregiving.com: What arrangements have you made so that your caree will receive the care he needs while you're at the conference?
Joan: Tom will be taken care of by a CNA that we had befriended a few years back while he was in a nursing home.

Caregiving.com: What are you looking forward to most while you're in Chicago?
Joan: It will be three years since I moved and was last in the Chicago area, so seeing family, especially my 91-year-old mother, will be one of the highlights of my trip.

Caregiving.com: What you packing to ensure you have all you need while you're at the conference?
Joan: I will make sure that I bring clothes that can be layered so I can be comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside or at the conference. I have a lot of food allergies, so I will be packing snacks. A notebook and pencil are also on my list.

We hope you will join us! Check out the National Caregiving Conference agenda and register to be with us.

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