This is the third and final post in this wonderful series by Margaret Baugher, but there's something she wrote that so hits home today,
"Always remember who your loved one was before their illness."
And one other thing to remember. A lot of Margaret's experience is based on support she was able to get from the Friendship Centers. If you're not in the area, then spend a little time doing some research to find out where you can get help for you and your loved one. Being a caregiver is only a lonely job if you allow it to be.
Check with the Council on Aging, AARP, Senior Centers - all things you can easily Google to find a resource in your own community so you can start to develop the support you need to address the challenges.
Just remember you're not alone!
Finding Help on the Caregiving Journey
by Margaret Baugher
I’m finding ways to be a better caregiver, I’m looking for resources and tips. I’m learning how to ask for help
Fortunately f I found help with the Friendship Centers. I am grateful to the Living Room staff and volunteers for assisting me with care of my mother.
She enjoys coming to the Living Room everyday. At first, mom stayed home by herself with neighbors looking in on her or watching out for her. She was able to go about her daily routine, dressing herself, getting her lunch of peanut butter and jelly. She was relatively safe, but could she react in an emergency?
Probably not. So, I worried about her and called her twice a day. She was fine most days except when someone would call the house or stop by. She’d call me all excited, but she couldn’t tell me why. She would say she was sorry because she couldn’t communicate with them and couldn’t explain to me what or who exactly it was.
Since she has been able to come to the Living Room, I have peace of mind. She enjoys the people and the activities. I did make one mistake. Asked what her interests were, I said only that she likes to do seek and find puzzles because that’s what she does now.
A few weeks later Jill said that they were playing ball…..they have this big bouncy purple ball. She said my mom jumped up and not only participated, but she practically led the activity. A light bulb went off in my head, and I said “oh yeah, she used to be a teacher’s assistant for phys ed in an elementary school and she was always sports oriented. She played baseball as a kid, taught my brother and I how to play and even coached my softball teams when I was growing up. So, I forgot a key part of my mother’s life when telling her interests.”
Always remember who your loved one was before their illness. I’m also glad to report that she is now involved in the Wii bowling and yes, she used to bowl in a league.
Without the Living Room, my mom would not be thriving and I would not be as sane as I am. I am counting on my own family, and my Friendship Centers family to assist to guide me through this continuing journey of caring for my mother.
About Margaret Baugher
Margaret is our Director of RSVP at the Friendship Centers campus in Lee County.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program engages individuals 55 years of age and older in volunteer service to meet critical community needs. RSVP is federally supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS.) Since 1971, RSVP projects have linked the skill of volunteers with critical community needs.
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