As my profile indicates, I've been a caregiver to some degree or another for about fifteen years. Given I'm not yet thirty, this is a significant period. It began with my parents who both have chronic health issues. Between them there is fibromyalgia, diabetes, a heart condition, low and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, nerve and soft tissue damage, clinical depression, and severe allergies. Off the top of my head those are the big ones.
Some periods are more difficult than others; thankfully, not all conditions are always at their worst and some are actually well managed.
A couple of years ago, things got more complicated when respective and surviving grandparents (one from each side of the family) moved north to be with us. My grandfather is flourishing and happily at an excellent nursing home very nearby, and this past week my grandmother returned south because the weather up here was just too harsh for her. For a while I was the one organising the affairs four aging or elderly adults, any one of which would have been a handful. *blesses homecare for the help they did and continue to provide* I wound up doing a year's worth of formal studies toward a BScN to help me get a grip on it all. Happily, I am not continuing those studies.
Mostly, I'm posting because despite having been active on a variety of different boards for years, it never once occurred to me to seek one out for caregivers. This shocked me when I thought about it while cooking dinner tonight. Things are still complicated (and will be for the foreseeable future) but I've had a good day and just want to say hello. I think I'm liable to stop by here fairly often.
I'm new to this board, too, though not new to Healthboards. I was surprised this morning to discover that there's a caregiver's section here! I've been on the Alzheimer's board for a year now, but had never found this one.
I'm caregiver to my mother-in-law, who is in stage 6 of Alzheimer's. It's hard, but we're convinced that this is the right thing for us to be doing. I get a lot of quietly negative attitudes from others sometimes who think she should be in a nursing home. She may get to that point, but we don't think that's the right choice for her yet. It saddens me that people throw their elderly into nursing homes so quickly nowadays. Sometimes, it's definitely the best choice, but often it isn't... It's just the comfortable choice, the one that doesn't disrupt what we'd like to be out doing ourselves. How many diapers did this woman change for others over her lifetime? So is it really so terrible for us to clean up for her now?
I hope to meet others here who are active caregivers too.