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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
www.nphco.org 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!