Sonia Minors, of Hanahan,South Carolina, writes asking about respite care and caregiver support.
I care for my 87 yr old mother who suffers Alzheimer’s disease and severe osteoporosis. She fell and fractured a hip Christmas morning of 2008 and has been living with me since. Her declining health brings new challenges every month.
After a year and a half, I discovered the Alzheimer’s Assoc.’s respite care program in South Carolina.
I also attend two caregiver support groups each month. Realizing I was suffering from caregiver depression and anxiety and was not sleeping, I made an appointment with the Berkeley County Mental Health Center where I receive medication and counseling. I can’t imagine where I would be without these two organizations.
The other outlet I found is a sit & fit exercise program at the Hananah Senior Center where I go two mornings a week and a zumba gold class I participate in one morning a week following an exercise class. The sit & fit class has given me to muscle strength I now need to move my mother and to bath her.
Purchased her wheelchair and other geriatric equipment from a Kidney Foundation Thrift store and have been loaned a transport wheelchair from the Disabilities Center.
The one thing I feel important to share is the purchase of a motion alarm which I found on-line. It attaches to the bed and alerts me when my mother sits up during the night. Much better than a bed alarm which does nothing until the patient is already off of the bed. It is made by Secure 1-800-373-2873. $15 each for the alarm and the goose-neck clip. The alarm may also the screwed directly to a door facing if the patient tends try to leave the home.
I am 63 yrs old and weigh 120 lbs. I do all the housework, laundry, yard work, grocery shopping, caring for my mother and take her for doctor’s appointments. I own a home in Georgia which I make mortgage payments and upkeep on while leasing a house in Charleston, SC. I cannot accept employment, have no medical insurance and am not old enough to receive Medicare benefits. My savings are nearly depleted.
We need a wheelchair ramp and will soon need a hospital bed. Where is help for the middle man? Middle – a double sided sword as we are caught in the middle when we need help.
Take comfort that your God (whomever He might be to you)is bigger than the challenges we face.
Thank you for sharing this information with us. I want you to know that you are not alone. You are also a very good role model for so many other care givers out there. I am proud of you for finding and accepting the respite care that is available. Even small breaks, walking the dog, your exercise classes or sitting on the beach are mental health breaks from your caregiving duties.
You are doing a great job taking care of yourself. Caregiver stress is real and does adversely affect health. Please keep in touch.
Diane Carbo RN