My name is John and I’ve been a caregiver for my widowed 86 year old mother since April 2010. Previous to 2010, I worked in a variety of capacities for 3 different employers as a Ph.D. Research Scientist. Temporarily at least, I’ve hopped off of the Career Ladder to focus on my duties to be the best caregiver I can possibly be, while still trying to be fair and reasonable to myself. I work part-time (as available) on a select list of personal side projects that (1) generate some current income and (2) permit me to keep up my technical skills/self-education as best as can be expected. I also lead a reasonably active social life, including volunteering at the local Art Museum and with the local chapter of my undergraduate fraternity: Lambda Chi Alpha. I also maintain a recreational life, which include basketball, dancing and cycling. Look for specialized and separate blogs on these topics areas over the coming months; you’ll be impressed by the breadth and depth of my subject matter expertise in various fields. Hopefully, this blogsite will be helpful, informative or motivational to you.
I am single with no children.
It is very significant to note that my mother can not live alone per doctors orders, and so therefore she lives with me in my home.
I have a local sibling and sister-in-law, nephew and niece who provide excellent caregiving support by handling a large fraction of mother’s financial paperwork, in-person leadership and ownership of most of her doctors appointments and related medications, making sure that my mother and I are included in holiday events with his family, and once-a-month long weekend (or even several “most-of-day”) respite care. Without this support, I’m not sure how I could continue with the assignment.
I also have a non-local sibling, brother-in-law, nephew and niece who acted as the primary caregivers during most of 2009 and the early part of 2010, as well as the early part of 2011. They provide morally and encouraging supportive communications, brief visitations to our home, as well as “goodie” packages on holidays and birthdays.
Monday through Saturday of most weeks, we have hired three caregivers that provide excellent support for 6 hour daily shifts. Two of these caregivers were recruited from my personal network, and the third regular caregiver arrives from the Right-At-Home Home Care Agency. They all love Mom and treat her with compassion, and help with tasks to directly maintain her health and mobility.
Finally, Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides Friendly Visitors, volunteers who are well screened and matched to my mother’s interests and background. The Friendly Visitor has one primary purpose: to provide conversational companionship for one hour, several times a month. JFS has locations in major metro areas throughout the USA; contact them if you are interesting in the Friendly Visitor Program.
Therefore, this is a team effort of a variety family members across generations, hence the website name Family CareGiving Journey.