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EDITORIAL RESPONSES  /What Do I Do Now?Editorial List

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What Do I Do Now Editorial Responses - Page 2
These are just some of the many responses we received from our Editorial of 06/28/06 - What Do I Do Now?

Dear Ted,

First let me convey my condolences to you on the loss of your father, and my sympathies to you on the loss of so many other family members. It is an issue lots of us face, what to do now? We have focused most of our lives and energy on the loved one to the exclusion of a life for ourselves.

My husband passed away three weeks ago after a fast growing and very aggressive lung cancer. All of my energy was focused on his doctors appointments. His medications, his comfort, his feeding , his mental state, yes and even his eliminations.  Needless to say that when he passed, I was lost. There was no pattern for me to follow now, no next step, no time frame to work within.

The advice I got from a wonderful group was for me not to make any major decisions for a year.  If you can hold out and don't have to return to work right away, I would advise you to just stand and catch your breath for a while. Re-group and see what feels right to you. By all means, seek some support whether from your church groups,  neighbors or on-line groups.

We all need support and to know that we will get through this because others have been where we are now, and are here to tell us about it. Now is the time to be kind to yourself, and go back to those books you never got a chance to read. That garden you never got to put in, even that furniture you never got to re-arrange. All of those things will help to get you back on the road to living a life for yourself and not just being someone's caregiver. 

I still have the 93 year old aunt in my home and I am the only caregiver , as she never had any children and all of my children live in other states. I make an effort to do things that I like and she can take advantage of too. She and I make jewelry for the neighborhood children and like to go for rides on the week-ends.  I invite company in that she can enjoy too and fix snacks that all of us can share.

Sorry to run on like this, but I want you to know that you can live a productive life, and after giving so much of your life to helping others, you deserve to go on and live that life.

Fellow  Caregiver,    Martha

Ted:  God Loves You!!!  You may consider going into contract management at a local hospital.  They are always looking for someone who can make sense of the many contracts they deal with on an annual basis.

Good Luck to you and I am sorry to hear about your Dad.

Rebecca J Garry, MSN, RN

Hi Gary and Ted

For 18 years I had a career of my choice that I loved but decided to do something different after caring for my father who had Alzheimer’s. I took a Nursing Assistant course and worked in a Nursing Home for 5 years. The one thing I saw over and over was the fact that the staff did not have time to do one on one with residents.

About 8 years ago I became a private caregiver/companion. I took courses in palliative care and geriatrics that were offered for free.

With all the common sense a caregiver learns I started to offer my services to other families in need. I set my own hours and rates. I go into nursing homes and private homes to care for family members.

This has been so rewarding for me to meet so many wonderful people and to know I am helping is the best feeling.

Best wishes for You.


Some thoughts...

Ted may be able to reach out for some job training programs.  Perhaps check out opportunities at a local hospital or nursing home.  Many states have Title III-E caregiver dollars - perhaps he can become a caregiver case worker.  Perhaps he has a local Area Agency on Aging... It would be wonderful if he could have some sessions with a job/voc counselor that specializes in working with people who have been out of the official workforce for a long time - someone who would also work with those who have not been breadwinners and help translate their skills.


In reviewing this newsletter I noticed the first story about a caregiver who is no longer a caregiver after caring for his family that included several losses over many years.  As always, I appreciate and support your response to his in terms of finding other ways of starting a new life and perhaps utilizing the skills she gained as a caregiver. 

In addition, this is a great opportunity to suggest he contact his local hospice for bereavement support services, particularly since she has experienced much loss of significant people in her life.  Most hospices provide these services to all community members, even if their loved one was not served by hospice.

These services may include resources on dealing with loss and grief, individual counseling, and/or group support.  In addition social activities are often planned that support people in finding new social networks and friendships with people who have had similar experiences and are in similar situations. .If someone wants to find a local hospice program they can do so on the website of the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization at and click "Find a Hospice".   

Thank you for the opportunity to respond and provide additional information to this caregiver.  If we can be of assistance in writing any other articles or perhaps even an ongoing "section" on Caregiving in the Last Years of Life, we would be happy to discuss this with you.

Thank you for your ongoing work in support of caregivers.  You do a great job!


Kathy Egan


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