Saturday, May 20, 2017

Who cares?

Cindy and I moved to California back in 2009 to help her Mom and Dad, her Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her Dad (Ray) needed help with her because he had promised to never put her in a facility.

Cindy is a caregiver by nature and by trade also, so it was a perfect fit to have her here for her parents, we went through all the happy and also the hard times with her Moms Alzheimer's, there were times when she could tell us stories of days gone by, and then days when she didn't know any of us, I take that back she always remembered Ray.
Cindys Mom was placed on hospice care and Cindy remained her caregiver to the end, Mom passed away at home with everyone standing at her side while she held Cindys hand, and Ray has been slowing down every since, she died the year following their 50th anniversary, and Ray kept his promise to allow her to stay at home.

Now Cindy gets herself dressed in scrubs and rushes out to a morning shift with a client, while I stay home and help her dad with his needs until she returns, Cindy is an amazing caregiver and juggling taking care of her Dad, working a job caring for a gentleman with advanced ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and taking care of me, is more than anyone should be required to do, now I am not helpless by any means but I do require help and Cindy is my lifeline.

Caregivers do not get enough credit, they are definitely underpaid in my opinion, there are good and bad caregivers like in any other occupation, but how many people can you find to work a job that pays minimum wage who will help you out of bed, cook and clean, hand feed, transfer you from a wheelchair to the shower chair, give you a bath, take you to the toilet and even wipe your rear when needed, someone to make sure you take your meds, and then help you back into bed and still care about your feelings.

And how about those who are doing exactly the same thing for a loved one, simply because it's the right thing to do, loved ones who do this for nothing are few and far between, there are those who say "Who Cares" and then you have caregivers who care.

Cindy is one of the caregivers who care, and I am proud of what she does and appreciate the care she gives anyone she comes into contact with, including her Mom, Dad, and I
For all of you caregivers out there working your rear off, caring for a loved one or a client while giving their lives some dignity, I want to say thank you for caring.

Are you a caregiver, or have you had any experiences with caregivers?

34 comments:

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    1. Thank you Delores, I appreciate you my friend.

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  2. You made me cry. Good tears because someone really understands and cares about caregivers. I spent five years co-caregiving my dad who had dementia. My brother and I split the week and duties to keep him out of a nursing home. He marriage was stressed because his wife didn't want him spending his time that way. My husband was SO supportive and I'm sure Cindy knows how important that support is when caring for a parent. So my hat is off to you, too, Jimmy for being willing to do what it took to help her and her dad.

    Six months after my dad died my husband had a massive stroke that left him right side paralyzed and without written or spoken language. I was his sole caregiver for 12 1/2 years here at home. It wasn't always easy but I don't regret a single day.

    Thanks for writing a wonderful post.

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    1. Thank you Jean, you know first hand what I am saying, caregivers do need a lot of support and your husband standing behind you during the time your Dad needed you tells me that he was a good man, when Cindys folks asked if we could come to California to help them it was an easy answer for me, I feel you should help family when you can, and what kind of man would I be to deny Cindy from being there for her parents.

      I know that you don't regret the 12 1/2 years that you spent caring for your husband, and I understand that it was not easy but I want to say thank you for being one of those caregivers who know what it takes to give someone the dignity they should have when they most need it, and I know that your husband was proud of the woman he married.

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    2. Thanks. I know he appreciated me even if he couldn't express it with words.

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    3. You are very welcome Lady.

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  3. Way back when the minimum wage was $2.00 I got a job at the nursing home in town. I had on the job training, no classes at all. Because the facility was not-for-profit they only paid $1.60 an hour. I loved working there, even though they were understaffed. So true about the good ones and the bad ones. A couple of the aids would go missing for cigarette breaks when 'things' got lively.
    I loved the patients and ended up taking their troubles home with me when I had my off days. I worked the supper/evening shift and did have a few go-rounds with the kitchen staff over hard and cold food.

    Hats off to you and Ginny, you are part of a dying breed. Hugs!

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    1. I really should have also mentioned the people working in the nursing homes, they are really overworked especially the ones covering multiple patients and at the same time covering the caregivers who do not care.

      I know you had your hands full with that job, thank you for your compliments we really appreciate them.

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  4. A wonderful post Jimmy and a great reminder that caregivers need to be recognized more and deserve our never ending gratitude. Cindy is an angel and then so are you for taking care of her dad when she is at her job. I would say there are both a couple of angels here :)

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    1. Thank you Denise, I appreciate your kind words and am honored to have you say the nice things about us.

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  5. Cindy's got a huge heart. A good friend of mine ran a daycare for several years, now she is director of a loving hospice. I can't imagine her ever NOT caring.

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    1. Hi Abby, it takes a special person to do this type of job, and the hospice care folks are indeed angels, Cindy does have a big heart, I couldn't do the job she has, she is one of the good ones, like your friend there are few who are caring enough to do this type of work, my hats off to your friend.

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  6. I have high respect for caregivers...it can be very stressful if there is no break from it.

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    1. That is it, the good ones seem to get no breaks, but they obviously love what they do, and this earns them the high respect they deserve.

      Thank you my dear friend.

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  7. The good caregivers are angles--your wife is one of those. It takes a special person--not all have it but those who do I so admire. Gotta put you in there also for helping with her Dad. I agree with Denise.

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    1. Hey Patti, Thank you so much for your nice comments, I agree it does take a special person to be a caregiver, and you are so right that not all have it, I have known many who do not, these just make you more proud of the ones who do have it.

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  8. Tears here, too. The good caregivers don't do it for the money. Just like the good teachers.

    During the month before my dad passed away, we had two great hospice workers who came to the house, but my mom took care of Dad's day-to-day needs. I don't think she left the house that entire month. I was off work with a newborn, and went by there every day from 8:00 to noon to visit with Dad, take Mom things she needed, and just be her link with the outside world.

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    1. Hi Val, no they don't do it for the money, if caregivers and teachers were in it for the money I am afraid that we wouldn't have either.

      Hospice care workers are great in my opinion, we had really good luck with the hospice care workers who came to help Cindys Mom, your Mom sounds like a great caregiver and your Dad had to know she was there for him, that is love.

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  9. I didn't get on so well with my parents, we're all "distant" people plus we all lived in different towns. I knew they both had cancer, but didn't know how ill they were until I phoned my dad to say Merry Christmas and got no answer then nor on New Years Eve, so my brother phoned the police in dad's town and they tracked him down in the hospital where he'd taken himself just before Christmas but hadn't told anybody. He died mid January. Mum also didn't tell anyone just how ill she was. I got a letter asking me to visit her so I did and found her unable to eat because the cancer had got to her throat, she was able to let coffee dribble in still, so refused to go to hospital even though she could barely move without falling against the walls. She was covered in bruises from bumping into things. Two days after I left she took herself to hospital and my brother went up there in my place (she always preferred her sons anyway) and she died within a week with my brother holding her hand. So I've never been a carer and I'm wondering now what I will do when my time comes. Probably my kids will arrange a carer if I ever need one, or my other option is to arrange in-home care myself through our Centrelink system (social services I think you'd call it). My oldest daughter and her family saw her mother-in-law through her illness and dying, it was quite traumatic for all of them as A was very much loved.

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  10. P.S. you and Cindy are the type of people the world values and needs more of.

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    1. Hi River, I am sorry about your parents, people handle death differently in each case, the survivors always feel guilty for not doing one thing or another when they thought they should have, cancer is a rough one, I have seen several people I know taken by this one.

      I believe that setting up your own in home care when the need is getting closer would be the way to go, Cindy has begun working for several of her clients when they first needed very little help, then continued as their needs grew, there are different programs to help you, depending on where you are and your insurance, but I am with you in making the decision of picking my own caregiver as soon as I feel the need arising.

      Thank you River, we appreciate your kind words.

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  11. Down here in Florida, caregivers practically get away with murder when there's no one supervising the caregiver. Joe and I promised never to allow the other one to be placed in a nursing home, but my mind is always worrying about the last survivor. Luckily, my health will take me first - then I start imagining Joe going with a heart attack due to the stress my health causes him. There's just no good way to "go" in my opinion. Our kids will never know we're gone since they are "busy" and just worried about finding the will. So we finally (hip hip hurrah) had our wills changed, naming charities as our benefactors. And then I remember that few of life's plans work out the way we want them to.

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    1. One option would be hiring either an in home health care agency or a private caregiver (depending on your insurance and what you can afford) this way the caregiver that comes to your house is under your terms, you have more control over who is caring for you this way as opposed to being in a facility where you are at the mercy of many....There are some good facilities out there but personally I am not a fan.

      It's good to see you Dana, I am glad you are back.

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  12. I have never been in a situation that needed someone to care, medically speaking, although heaven knows it might happen to me one day. I hope if it does I have someone like Cindy to care for me.

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    1. Good morning Valerie, there are good caregivers out there, we just have to make the decision on when we need one.

      I think Cindy is the best caregiver and no one is better, my opinion may be a little prejudiced, seriously though when the time comes you will find one just as awesome as Cindy, then we can brag to each other on who has it the best.

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  13. Such an important post, Jimmy! My daughter is a home health RN and it's a tough job. Cindy is to be admired for all that she does!

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    1. Good morning Bijoux, I agree your daughter being a home health RN has a difficult job, she sees much of the same things Cindy does, she has her hands full for sure, there is a special place in heaven for RNs and caregivers.

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  14. I will join you in saying thank you to Cindy and all other caregivers. My sister in Sweden had a severe form of Down syndrom and required care throughout her life. I only knew the last two of those who took care of her throughout her much longer than expected life and they were unbelievable. Such wonderful, caring, people. I felt they were family and they cared for her as they would for a family member. So a huge thank you to all who are in this profession and to all who are faced with doing it for a loved one. The picture of Cindy's parents is priceless in how it shows love. LOVE!

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    1. Hi Inger, it sounds like your family found some great caregivers for your sister, you are right that full time caregivers seem to become part of the family due to what they do for your loved one.

      I always loved that picture of Cindys parents, it shows clearly how much they loved one another.

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  15. I so agree with your assessment about caregivers. They are often unappreciated and always underpaid. Bless each and every one of the good caregivers. They are worth their weight in gold.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thank You Sandee, and a great day to you also.

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  16. Most carers do a wonderful job, I agree. They should be a great deal better paid. My older daughter became a carer for a little while before she went to work in a children's nursery and it was a really tough job with anti-social hours, difficult patients and very little pay!

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    1. Hi Joey, yes these caregivers have their hands full working for a facility, the long hours and high number of patients per caregiver leads to many of them getting burned out, sad thing here on the pay is the kids working their first jobs at a fast food restaurant make more than my wife with her years of experience.

      Your daughter is probably happier working at the children's nursery as opposed to the conditions as a caregiver.

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