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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /What Do I Do Now? /  Editorial List

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What Do I Do Now?

Gary

I recently lost my father who I had been the full time caregiver for the past 8 years. Prior to that I had been the primary caregiver for my mother for 11 years following a disabling stroke. Before that, I had helped my parents care for my sister who had many physical and emotional problems and for a period of roughly 5 years I took care of an aunt who suffered from dementia. All told I had been a caregiver for almost 28 years.

Now that my father is gone my caregiving days are over and it very difficult to try to jump start my life. The job situation in my home town is not good. Most jobs seem to pay minimum wage which is almost impossible to live on. I had graduated from both college and law school but never had the opportunity to practice. I have not had the time over the years to keep up with computer skills which I now am attempting to do.

Have other caregivers also experienced this problem? Do you have any suggestions that could help me? I appreciate your time

Yours truly,

Ted


Ted,

This is a very normal issue to be facing, so much of these past years had been taken up your labors of love that now they are over, you are left to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. First thing you need to do is to take a moment and realize that while you were certainly being a supportive brother, nephew and son as you cared for your loved ones, you were also the head of an important health care organization.  You were the one literally making life and death decisions for those that you love on a daily basis, juggling finances, interacting with healthcare professionals and making sure that those in your organization (your sister, aunt and parents) got the best available care.

In fact, many of the greatest healthcare professionals I have met, started down the path towards their careers as caregiver for members of their family.  I am not just talking about doctors and nurses, but social workers, nurse assistants, administrators and marketing and sales professionals.  You may want to figure out if there was any part of caregiving that you enjoyed doing which would be an interesting career choice for you. Your future course may not best be found in your home town. Are there any funds available for you to try and start a new life elsewhere? Your legal background may be of great service to a local legal aid organization or you may want to start anew with a paralegal license.  I know that it seems as if things are upside down right now, but this may be an opportunity to do something that many caregivers find hard to do, during and after their caregiving days and that is to think about what you really want for yourself.

With your permission, Iím going to present this to the true caregiving experts, and see what advice they may have to offer.  

My advice for Ted

 

 


Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief
gary@caregiver.com