March 1, 2016 cadenceadmin

Issue Highlight: Respite Care

Caregiver fatigue is a normal issue for those who care constantly for a loved one, and is nothing to be ashamed of.  Also, there may come a time when a home caregiver is injured and cannot care for a loved one in the way that he needs to be cared for (back injuries are common among caregivers, for example).  In these cases the home caregiver may need Respite Care to assist or attend to the duties that the home caregiver is performing.  It could be for a few hours a day that he home caregiver needs a break.

Case Study:

Joe and Peggy were high school sweethearts and got married after college. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant General and she is a retired University Professor. They have traveled the world, both together and apart, and have 3 children and 7 grandchildren who don’t live locally. Joe and Peggy chose Charlottesville to retire in, because it was equal-distant from their childrens’ homes, and within a day’s drive of each.

A few years ago, Joe was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. In the beginning, Joe just had to be a little more careful about getting around, but recently, his activities outside the home have been more limited, and Peggy is helping him with everyday tasks, like shaving, dressing, and safely bathing. She doesn’t mind, and lovingly cares for her husband. However, she does notice that it is becoming more difficult for her to manage the physical help that he needs, and she misses the socialization that they both used to do. It seems that everything takes longer, and sometimes the housework gets left behind, because, understandably, Joe’s needs take priority. Joe doesn’t mind. He loves spending time with his wife and appreciates her immensely.

One day, they talk about it together. They have saved up and want to enjoy their retirement together, and that means finding a way to incorporate the things that they used to do, both together and apart. They decide on respite care, to meet both their needs. Susan and Matt, their Companion Caregivers, begin to come by twice a week. They help with the housework, and with the care that Peggy finds more physically taxing. More importantly, they spend time getting to know Joe, he tells them about his life in the Air Force and his travels. Peggy is able to go out for errands, appointments, and social events without worrying about Joe falling, and when she comes home, the house is tidy and clean, so she feels free to invite some friends over for lunch from time to time. Joe thrives from the socialization and clearly loves seeing his friends more often.

Although Joe doesn’t feel he is able to make the trip, Peggy travels to see their 8th grandchild after she is born. Matt spends the night with Joe and keeps him company while Peggy is away. They watch WWII movies and Matt sets up Skype so that Joe can video-chat with Peggy and see the new baby! Susan comes by and helps Joe with his personal care, and when Peggy gets home, she gets to relax and tell Joe all about her trip. In a couple of weeks, their daughter and the baby visit.

Peggy also knows that as Joe’s needs progress, and as she needs more help, she can use Susan and Matt and their team of companions more often, and that their companionship will continue to foster Joe’s independence at every stage.