Monday, July 27, 2009

Disabled Elderly - Caregiving and coping

I have been caring for my disabled elderly husband who has Parkinson's Disease for 12 years. He has been a wheelchair patient for six years. As sole family caregiver I have to find ways to do things that work.

We are married 32 years, so there were good times before he became ill. I have no degrees or titles than enable me to offer these tips for Parkinson's care except that of being the family caregiver to my husband. For the last 11 years we have lived with this disease. In the beginning he was only mildly affected but over time his disease has progressed to him being a wheelchair patient. For the first 6 years I was his sole care giver, living with and getting to know his limitations that changed from day to day. He was 71 years old, I, 22 years younger, was 49. (He is now 82, I am 60.) My "career" came to an abrupt halt as I stayed home to be the family caregiver for my husband.

In desperation I searched frantically for assistance to cover his medications and help to adapt the house to his needs. Everywhere I tried, either there was no program to help us or we were only dollars from being eligible. Finally one day I made the right contact at the Pa Dept of Public Welfare Department of Senior Services for our county. I had tried there the previous year and was told there was no program to help. I called there again and again every few months. On my last call I coincidentally timed it at the beginning of a new program and was able to get my husband enrolled. The program was not for Parkinson's disease patients only, but for any senior that might otherwise be placed into a nursing home. The goal of this program is to keep the senior patient in their home, out of a facility, as long as possible. We have been enrolled 6 years. This program has been a life saver, life changer.

I am still the family caregiver but this program has given us caregiving help, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to help me care for him and enable me to regain a few hours a day of my own. It has helped us make adaptations to our home so he can use the bathroom and stairs. It has given him prescription coverage. I strongly urge you to seek help from this agency if you are have a senior that needs assistance. There are other agencies that may be able to help in different ways. Keep knocking on doors, making phone calls.

Please visit my web site to see my Patent Pending Skid Seat(R),

my reusable bed pad and related items you may find useful in caring for your loved one. Thank you.