Ask anyone who opens opens their heart and their
home to a sick parent or debilitating spouse in need of 24/7 homecare—why do they do it? Chances are
they will tell you it’s grueling,
backbreaking work.But eventually,
they admit the real reasons. It brings them a sense of closeness, purpose, and
an enormous sense of personal reward.
But when the day comes—and they find themselves grieving the loss of a husband,
mother or friend—many will express gratefulness that they set aside
time to be there and give much needed care to that special someone in their
Deiter, an Illinois resident, is one such person whose love and compassion are
dedicated to helping her mother, who has late stage breast cancer.Instead of sending her mother to a nursing home, Mary invited
her to live at home where she could care for her.
Mary was called to roll up her sleeves and take on yet another caregiving
responsibility when her husband received the crushing diagnosis of amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
it wasn’t supposed to work out this way for Mary or her husband.
mother moved in with us a couple of years ago.Our intention was to take care of her. But the tables turned and we
ended up taking care of my husband,” she explained.
Mary, many Americans find themselves thrust into the role of home caregiver
with loved ones.
estimated 65% of aging adults with long term care needs rely on family and
friends to provide assistance, says a report from the Family Caregiver Alliance
National Center on Caregiving.And it’s
this kind of support that enables older adults to continue living in the
comfort of their homes under the care of their families and friends as opposed
to living in long term care faculties or nursing homes.
like these continue to rise as the population ages.The number of adult family caregivers jumped
from 30% in 2010 to 39% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center and the
California HealthCare Foundation.
rising home healthcare trends demonstrate why it’s important that caregivers
have the necessary tools and support in place when taking on the daunting role
of caring for a medically dependent family member at home.
Mary’s husband lost use of his limbs when she was providing his care, he relied
on her for almost everything.But that
didn’t stop her from drawing on all the positive memories they shared together
while she gave comfort, care, and reassurance to her husband—whose health
rapidly declined and led to his passing.
made me feel like I was doing a good job,” she says, explaining how she fed and
bathed him. In addition, she tended to his skin to prevent painful infections
caused by bedsores, something common among people confined to a bed long
a certified nurse’s assistant, Mary knew the risks associated with bedsores and
how even a small infection could lead to loss of limb—or worse—become life
know how dangerous bedsores can be—so to keep his skin free and clear [of bedsores]
for so long, it was incredible—even the people at the hospice and the visiting
nurses were impressed,” she said.
the nurses were likely more impressed by Mary’s compassion and that she gave
her husband something no one else could give—the best possible care—something
no hospital or hired professional could provide better than she herself.