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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/22/11

I am a single mom to my 10-year-old son and sole caregiver to my 88-year-old mother, who has dementia and several physical disabilities.  She has lived with me for four years and there is no outside help at this time. I feel alone since I do not have a support system. My family lives several states away. What do I need to know in order to help myself and son through this process? I need support more than my son as he has friends and activities with which to refresh himself. rections for helping me keep a strong positive attitude and fighting the feeling that I am disappearing/evaporating/melting would be greatly appreciated.


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Name: Joan
Location: Dubuque, IA
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 01:36 PM


Dear Friend, you are not alone. There are many caregivers like you across the is what some of them do to stay positive: they get in touch with their local agency on aging to find out about adult day programs in their area (and I know this because I work at an agency on aging)... Adult day programs are good for people with dementia, and the staff members are used to working with people like your mom. (In our city, people pay about $45 for a day and their loved one receives two meals, special attention, social interaction, exercise opportunities, memory games, music and more.) They also provide transportation there and back, but this is extra. Your agency on aging may be able to help you with "respite," a program where a paid caregiver comes to stay with your mother while you get out for a few hours to run errands, or maybe just do something fun. The agency on aging may also have a support group for family caregivers -- the best thing about these gatherings is the chance for those who are facing the same issues to exchange ideas on what has worked and learn from eachother. To find the phone number of your local agency on aging, call the eldercare locator tollfree: 800-677-1116. Good Luck!

Name: Kathleen
Location: Massachusetts
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 12:40 PM


Hi- first and foremost, it is vital that you take care of yourself. You need to get out of the house and get some exercise or participate in activities that fuel and renew you. If you start to drown, you won't be any good to either your mother or your son. It's vital to reach out to friends or local support!And your mindset is certainly a huge part of the battle-staying positive is crucial. Is there an Elder Services agency or Council on Aging in your community? They can direct you to people/services that can assist you so you can get some needed breaks. Have you explored options to help you pay for care if needed? Eldercare attorneys can shed light on your State programs of support and what qualifies one for certain program. Kathleen Cleary

Name: Jo
Location: MN
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 08:25 AM


Have you called your local social services? They may be able to give you some resources to places that offer help to seniors and caregivers. Also try local churches, even if you are not religious, they could help you to find resources. Talk to the parish nurse, pastoral minister, or minister, they can offer their support plus lead you to resources that can help you and not just your mom. Also, ask your friends if they could help you out. Even if it's coming over and watching your mom for an hour so you can take a bubble bath, or run out for a cup of coffee and some personal time.

Name: Roxanna
Location: Champaign, IL
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 08:13 AM


Call your Area Agency on Aging and ask for the name and number for your local Caregiver Support person. They will be available to help you.

Name: Connie
Location: Oregon
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 07:32 AM


See if there are senior day care centers so you can have some time for yourself. Ask at the DHS offices. If there are local programs that would help you help your mom. You might even be able to get paid to be her caregiver as well. You need to take care of yourself or you won't be any good to her OR your son.

Name: tj
Location: wv
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 06:58 AM


First you must care for yourself or you won't be able to care for others. As caregivers and women we complete our duties without hesitation, because it is what we do. Include your family in daily activities, mom can fold laundry, napkins, sort silverware, your son can put some of the laundry away, carry dishes to the table, both can assist with simple prep for a meal, wash vegetables, slice them, mix up a 'dish' etc. Spend at least 10-20 minutes at the end of the day (or first thing in the morning) just for you, pamper yourself, shower or bathe with fragrant soap, use fragrant lotion, do something you enjoy, read a book, look at a magazine, email a friend, scrapbook. Encourage your family to assist with holiday prep, decorations, remember it doesn't have to be perfect, being together as a family is what is important, this also ease the burden on you. Check with your local senior center, area agency on aging, look for an adult medical day care, ask about senior care and respite programs, adult medical day care is a great way for mom to be active, day care offers musical events, special holiday activities, crafts, games, socialization and medical oversite. Adult medical day care can be paid for through medicaid, if your mother doesn't have medicaid, then they do have reduced payments based on income, it really is a great service and you can enjoy activities you like and not have to worry. Spend 10-15 minutes daily talking about your day with each family member, this makes everyone feel special. Being a caregiver I know how difficult it is, you just have to experiment to discover what works for you and your family. good luck These services will give you a break so you can take care of yourself.

Name: Miki
Location: Illinois
Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 06:12 AM


Hello, I am sole caregiver to my 26 yr. old son, who sustained a brain injury. And now I care for my 82yr. old mom. We have a state assistance program called the Brain Injury Waiver program. It allowed me an income since I had to leave my job. His care is 24/7. Recently, the online support group gave me a site to check on assistance for caregiving a parent. Honestly, I haven't checked it out is cheaper for the government to aid the person, if possible at home rather than a facility. Here's the site, caregiver resource site> Also a couple of sites I find alot of support. They are free. Register, and choose the topic...Brain Injury, Caregiving, Parkinsons, carepageforprayer, etc. Alot of support. You can open your own helped me with the isolation and helps me stay connected to others with simular situations. My main bit of advice...Make time for "YOU". Who has to care for the care giver when the caregiver is down. God Bless You. Feel free to contact me.

Date: 11/22/2011
Time: 06:05 AM


Bless you for your love and service to your mom! Your son is seeing a wonderful example of "love in action!" If you do not have a spiritual practice that would allow you to tap into a community of faith, it can be a wealth of support for you, your mom and your son. Also, are you aware of the Senior Companion Program which is a federally funded program that provides volunteers to come into your home and assist? It is the same program that supports Foster Grandparents under Senior Corp. Please try to find out if this service is available in your area. Positive thoughts and prayers are with you as your seek the answer for this situation. Happy Thanksgiving. You are blessed to have your mom with you!



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