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EDITORIAL RESPONSES /A Caregiver in Need/ Editorial List

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A Caregiver in Need Editorial Responses
These are just some of the many responses we received from our Editorial of 08/26/09 - A Caregiver in Need sounds perfect for this woman and her husband. She can find groups right in her town with people who are probably in the same exact situation she’s in. She can join a group, talk with the people for a while and then, when she decides she wants to, she can “meet up” with them. If they are in the same situation she’s in there’s a good chance they may be able to provide transportation for her or at the very least recommend transportation.

My grandmother belongs to the local JCC and doesn’t drive, like many of the older members there, so they offer a free shuttle service. Many cities and towns are now offering free transportation also, to and from specific places. She could probably contact her local government to find out if her city has this service. As for help around the house, maybe if there are any children in their neighborhood they could enlist their help for mowing the lawn for a small fee. Most kids will jump at the opportunity to make a few dollars, as long as their parents are okay with it. Perhaps an adult neighbor could be persuaded to help them with other things around the house too, like repairs and shoveling.

Regards, Marissa

Although you do not belong to an organized religion, most churches have some sort of outreach ministry for the homebound and their caregivers. Volunteers in those organizations will be glad to provide a few hours of respite care, conversation, and friendship at least a few hours each week. They provide these services regardless of your religious affiliations or lack thereof. Caregivers can enjoy a few hours of responsibility-free to rest and recharge! Call some nearby churches and see what they can do for your! Good luck and God bless you!


The only option that I can think of is to either hire a home health agency for a day or a week or have her husband go to an assisted living or a nursing home for a week of respite. As for herself, her family only lives 3 hours away - they can certainly take her somewhere for a week or a few days.

I can certainly understand your predicament. I care for my dad who had a massive stroke 3 1/2 yrs ago. I have no family help other than my husband.  I took dad to a wellness center that had a stroke exercise class and we made friends there. They were a wealth of info for us & provided friendship for dad and me as well. You might see if something like that exists in your area.  Also, I have a gal who helps me out frequently who works full time at a nursing home from 2-10pm--so most mornings she's available--try finding someone maybe like that (my neighbor referred me to my helper). 

Have you been in the military? Lots of things are available thru the VA. Have you contacted your Area Agency on Aging...they know of tons of programs/resources that you very well might qualify for--check them out. Finally see if any churches in the area have a caregiver support group (some do & that would help you also). Everyone needs breaks...and it takes some work to figure out how to get them, but very necessary to your well-being!! Best of Luck!

I can't offer advice or help, but I wanted you to know I have some idea of your situation. I understand the loneliness you feel. Maybe some anger too (why does this have to be so hard). Maybe I am just projecting cause those are often my feelings. Maybe it seems kind of underhanded to join a group just to get some help, but at first your goal can to be just to connect with other people. Also if the first group isn't welcoming, try another. It may not be you, but the group.

Blessings, Millie

I have provided an assortment of care services for my father for the last 26 years since our homes were combined into one.

In 26 years, I've repeatedly learned that it's very important to belong to a group, club or organization for mental and physical diversion and enjoyment of life.
Senior clubs and centers are the best focal points in a community for providing information, socialization and activities for adults throughout this country. Many of these clubs and centers for adults have been built and created by the adults that use them.

I have found the support services needed for myself and my father either at the center or a referral to the resource required at their center. We have attended events together and separately. Traveled many days trips with small and large groups. Volunteered for services such as Meals on wheels, Dial a ride and board committee meetings. If the center didn't have the resource we needed, when it was found, it was shared and added to the resource book in the library.

I'm not a member of the club in my neighborhood, I'm not old enough to join the membership. For 20 years I have volunteered and supported senior centers to assist them in being focal points for the community. My father can no longer attend their programs because of his health limitations, but I'm able to care for him at home because of the resources and support found at a senior center.

Please let your readers know, if the adult or senior center in your local community doesn't have the programs and activities you would like it to have on a regular basis, get involved and create it. Clubs and centers love volunteers. Volunteers have scheduled their time to serve a diverse population of adults and built community rooms, computer rooms, craft rooms, sport clubs, travel itineraries and resource books and libraries for all of us to benefit. These centers allow many older adults to live in their homes longer by providing meals, transportation, and socialization, along with the volunteers that deliver them.

I’m an Elder in our church in Ukiah. If we received a call from someone like yourselves we’d respond in a positive way to try to meet your needs for assistance. You wouldn’t have to be a member of our church. Part of being a Christian is to be of service to others.

If I were a member of the local service groups such as Lions or Rotary, and you let us know your need, we’d probably try to help you. This is so because they are service oriented.

Bottom line, if I were in your shoes, I’d ask for help. This is something I learned many years ago and haven’t regretted.

Some people are reluctant to ask for help as they think they’d be a burden to others, yet when asked if they’d help another they readily say yes I’d help. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Savvy?

Finally, perhaps you have the financial resources to pay for caregivers.

This is the most difficult issue to face caregivers. How do we develop our caregiver support network when we aren't connected solidly with the outside community? My first suggestion is to sit down and make a list of people you know who might be able to help. Think creatively: neighbors, friends from work (yours and his), friends from the Rehab facility, etc. Anyone who ever said "do you need help?" goes on the list! The idea is to create your "family of choice" since your family of origin is not available on a daily basis. Next, create a list of things that need to be done, including social activities. Yard work or laundry, or a date for a concert all go on the list if that is what you need help with. Then you start the hard part: asking for help. I refuse to be pessimistic about this. I believe that people are ready and willing to help. Sometimes, they just need to be asked. So ask with a positive attitude. You will get a sense of who will help and who can't (note: can't, not won't!). Then you start matching tasks with people. Those who do help you will probably know others who can help so ask for recommendations for a handy-man they might use, etc.

Be sure to send thank-you notes to anyone who helps you and your husband. That keeps people wanting to help! This is not an easy task, as you already know. Sometimes the hardest part is convincing yourself that people would want to help... Another source of support is the local Area Agency on Aging. Although you don't say your ages, call them and ask for suggestions on resources for caregiver support. You might find out about something you didn't know existed before.
Jane Henderson, L.C.S.W.

As I read and print your newsletter every week for our MS support group, this one struck a personal cord. As you know, a lot of people with MS look like nothing is wrong with them but the symptoms, or "souvenirs" as your writer states are hidden from the public, known only to you and your spouse.

A support group is a way of airing out concerns and asking for help, however, as co-leaders of our 17 couples strong group, I can tell you most are reluctant to share or ask for help. Like your writer, we have no family and most of our neighbors are older than we are, so it is the community you reach out to. To your writer I would suggest contacting the local colleges and churches as they have a lot of volunteer programs for people who will come out and do chores for you, take you to the store, or just visit. Most communities have resources such as Senior Centers that someone can pick you up and play games at their center, or take your spouse out and give you a rest.

Those are a few thoughts that came to my mind as I read your current e-newsletter. I am constantly researching for others who have needs different than mine. We also put together a Resource Binder to help everyone in our group know what is available, whether on the Internet or publications. Thank you, Gary for keeping us all informed, patients and caregivers.

Gail R.



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