How I became a family caregiver

September 21, 2019

Hi everyone! This is Claudia. I know Ken has mentioned me in a few of his blogs, but I want to introduce myself as well. I’ve worked for Ken as his assistant since 2014, but we’ve known each other much longer, since we used to work together, in the same department, at UPS. But it’s the years between those two jobs and the passion of the financial advisors here at Jones Financial Group for helping aging family members that have led me to this subject: how I became a family caregiver.

 

When I left UPS in 2010, I took a few months to relax, recover and regroup. I had planned to begin a new job search in 2011, but my then-85-year-old mother-in-law, who had recently been widowed, fell and broke her upper right arm, which left her unable to do a lot for things for herself since she’s right-handed. That was the beginning of her loss of independence and the beginning of my experience as a family caregiver. It started as me “helping out” one day per week, driving her around to run her errands. When she lost her driver’s license six months later, caregiving became my job, five days per week, for the next seven years, even while I was already working for Ken.

 

While caregivers experience many of the same things, each of our experiences is different. Initially, my situation was easy compared to most caregivers; but then my mother-in-law started falling more frequently which resulted in her being hospitalized, followed by going to a rehab facility for therapy. Each of these incidences led to a reduction in her abilities and the need for more help when she returned home.

 

Did you know? The family caregiver has many roles besides giving their family member hands-on care. Most people immediately think of physical care, but caregiving can be

  • as simple as being a companion to the person and
  • as complex as managing the person’s medical care, their insurance claims and bill payments
  • as well as taking them to doctors’ appointments, running errands, cooking, cleaning and doing other housekeeping chores.
  • If the caregiver doesn’t live with the person, then there is also a daily commute to and from their home or the stress of long-distance caregiving.

 

My mother-in-law is in assisted living now, mostly wheelchair-bound, so her daily needs are met by the staff there, but caregiving doesn’t stop. My husband, her son, has taken over the once-per-week task of taking her to her hair appointment because she is physically too weak for me to handle safely.

 

The stress of caregiving is a real thing and something I’d like to address in another blog.

 

If you are currently or may become a caregiver and have any questions or would like to talk about your situation, please feel free to contact us at 717.591.9739. Being able to talk with someone else is going through, or has gone through, the same thing you are can be very helpful.