How has a caregiver impacted your life?
There are only four kinds of people in this world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers. Those who will need caregivers.
– Rosalyn Carter
I just lost my great Aunt Tillie, a sassy woman who outlived her husband and two of her three children. She made her transition last Friday morning with her daughter’s best friend at her bedside. She was ready to leave this world.
She had been diagnosed with an inoperable aneurysm last fall, and after being moved into hospice, spent the last several months steadily declining in a facility with a handful of other residents in similar conditions.
The only relative who would have been able to provide in-home care lived several hours from her, and the trip alone might have caused the aneurysm to rupture. Aunt Tillie found herself where she had never wanted to be–in a “home.” Her former residence had been in a high rise for seniors in the heart of the city where there were always things to do, places to go and friendly people to see. The lack of social stimulation in her new surroundings was abysmal, to say the least.
She had been a dedicated caregiver to her husband, my Uncle Roy, who suffered from dementia in his last several years. I was much younger then and had no comprehension of their struggle, how the man she had known for the better part of a century was disappearing right before her eyes. When he finally passed, she was devastated, possibly a little relieved, and definitely lost–all at once. In my conversations with her in the years following his death, I gathered that she felt a sense of peace that she had been able to care for him and she was ready to join him “when the good Lord saw fit.”
I feel sad that such a loving caregiver was not able to receive the same quality of care that she had given. It’s nobody’s fault–it’s just how things turned out for her.
As I think of what a phenomenal caregiver she was, how patient and positive and upbeat she always remained, I am reminded that the role of the caregiver is so often overlooked and undervalued. She had many resources to help her care for her husband, but not everyone is as lucky.
Fortunately, there are organizations that are doing amazing work to assist caregivers and empower them to provide in-home care for their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. We have worked with three in particular and would love to share them with you:
Inspired by Alzheimer’s/ Dementia families caring for their loved ones at home, Alzheimer’s Music Fest has partnered with Caring Together in Hope and Amy’s Place, a nonprofit 501c3, to raise funds to help families that need financial support.
The next Alzheimer’s Music Fest is August 6, 2016 at Eddie Owens Presents at Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth, Georgia. You can purchase tickets HERE.
Alzheimer’s Music Fest has launched a GoFundMe campaign to accompany this year’s event. Find out more about how you can help HERE.
This Roswell, GA-based nonprofit organization provides respite and support services to caregivers who are selflessly serving those affected with dementia and related disorders. Alzheimer’s Music Fest is donating their proceeds after costs to Caring Together in Hope to put those funds into action helping local caregivers. Find out more about how you can help HERE.
Amy’s Place is the home of Caring Together in Hope and provides an opportunity for the family caregiver AND their loved one with dementia to socialize, learn and connect with those who share in the journey of caring for someone with dementia. Supporting caregivers can be a family member, friend, or hired assistant, and are welcome. Amy’s Place also aims to reduce the stigma often associated with dementia, by offering educational events to the community. Find out more about how you can help HERE.
The more I work with the wonderful people in these organizations, the more I realize that you don’t have to look far in your life to find a caregiver who could benefit from some help, whether it’s long term financial assistance or simply a day where they can practice some long-awaited self-care.
How has your life been touched by a caregiver?