Gail has always liked having immediate access to her alternatives.

If I can, she says, “I want to make a choice before it needs to be made.” “Unfortunately, nothing can be predicted in advance. I definitely didn’t expect any of this.

Gail ultimately made the decision that she needed assistance after taking care of her husband Jim through two bouts with cancer, several surgeries, mini-strokes, and advancing vascular dementia.

She had met a geriatric care manager (also known as an Aged Life Care Professional) via her financial adviser, who told her she didn’t have to manage Jim’s care alone. At that point, she got in touch with a nearby Comfort Keepers franchise and started the process of obtaining in-home care.

Taking care of a spouse requires a lot of dedication over time.

Gail has been taking care of her husband for many years. In 1986, Jim initially had Hodgkin’s lymphoma after just one year of marriage.

Gail remembers, “It was my first genuine experience caring for him.” “Back then, the medicine was just as crippling as the illness, so it cut a year off of our lives.”

For a long time after his recovery, Jim remained in good health overall, but in 2000, Gail started to notice changes in Jim’s memory, judgment, and demeanour. After receiving a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), he received yearly testing to carefully track the development.

Gail had a retinal tear in 2006, which led to momentary blindness in one eye. Her personal medical setback and Jim’s increasingly strange conduct served as a sharp reminder that their present care strategy really needed to be improved. During that year, they moved into a nearby continuing care senior community’s independent living apartment (CCRC).

This wake-up call couldn’t have come at a better time. Although Jim’s mental state had initially been stable, the therapy for a return of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a challenging open-heart procedure, and a series of mini-strokes led him to quickly deteriorate. Although having vascular dementia, Gail continued to be his only carer.

“I’m sure Jim’s kids would pitch in, but I don’t want them to feel like they have to. They don’t live close by, and each of them has a full schedule and their own kids, she claims.

While her encounter was terrifying, it wasn’t that unusual. The majority of spouse carers (59 per cent) find themselves in high-intensity care circumstances, according to a survey jointly released by AARP and the National Association for Caregiving. 80 per cent of respondents, like Gail, claim to be their significant others’ only informal support system, while 66 per cent say they are completely on their own while providing care.

Care for Dementia and Burnout

Gail had intended to continue taking care of her husband on her own, but many family caregivers ultimately give up because of the physical and emotional stress of this position. She ran into a wall in 2014. Jim was now deemed to be significantly disabled, and his wife was battling to control her blood pressure and showing signs of caregiver fatigue.

She remembers, “I was going nuts. Lack of sleep was a factor. It’s simply hard to switch off your head. Given that you’re always tuned in, I believe it’s probably similar to having a young kid.

Jim continues to try to adore his wife the same way he always has, despite the fact that personality and behavioural disorders may be frequent signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. He constantly asks how he can assist, whether it be with cleaning, cooking, or putting out the trash. Jim’s need for close monitoring and the propensity of dementia patients to forget things make his frequent queries more bothersome for Gail than comforting. She is not the only one who is frustrated. Every kind of dementia presents major difficulties for family members and caregivers as they learn to deal with the profound changes in their loved ones.

You’re accustomed to them operating at such a high level, so I suppose that’s part of the frustration,” Gail observes. “After that, poof. I’m now helping him get dressed and clean his teeth. It’s difficult to watch.

Gail was physically worn out in addition to the emotional toll of seeing Jim becoming more and more dependent. She found it difficult to strike a balance between his demand to be always active and her need to complete tasks and feel at home. Self-care had ceased to be a priority, and she had little time to unwind or connect with friends. Gail ultimately made the decision that it was time to change when her geriatric care manager made a recommendation.

An Easy Beginning for Home Care Services

Gail and Jim’s CCRC provides a range of care options, including assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care. Gail, however, chose to receive care at home. Jim was able to continue living with his wife in their cosy house thanks to this modification to their care plan, which also gave his wife the assistance she needed. As older adults—especially those with cognitive impairment—tend to thrive on familiarity and a regular schedule, home-based care is a terrific choice for many families.

The Advantages of Home Care for People with Dementia

Accepting outside assistance was something that happened gradually. The pair used transportation and companionship as their first Comfort Keepers services after their first session. Jim had reluctantly given up driving after a few horrific experiences, which limited his ability to contribute to the family and have fun outside the home. For years, he had been in charge of grocery shopping, and his favourite activities were running errands, eating out, and looking for deals.

It turned out that not being able to drive was a gift in disguise. The home care agency’s transportation services allowed Jim to maintain his freedom and routines, go outside, and interact with others. Using this strategy, Jim was also able to get to know his new carers on a casual level at first, which made it much simpler to provide more individualized services like assistance with ADLs. Not to mention that it allowed Gail to resume her regular schedule and take a much-needed break.

Home care may assist in regaining normalcy.

Jim now gets assistance on weekdays and sporadically on weekends, according to the first care plan Gail developed with the Comfort Keepers client care coordinator as his requirements escalated. Jim’s average day includes going out to lunch with one of his three regular caretakers and performing errands, mainly grocery shopping. Gail may meet up with friends, attend appointments, attend support group meetings, and engage in her interests in the meantime.

Every family caregiver has a distinct way of using their precious spare time, and it often varies depending on how they’re feeling. When Jim is out for the day, Gail acknowledges that she sometimes cuddles up in bed and pulls the blankets over her head. For many caretakers, the freedom to get an additional hour of sleep or even take a stroll is a godsend. Gail claims that in-home care has provided her flexibility in addition to making it easier for her to prioritize her own needs since Jim gets high-quality care.

Gail describes the care team’s goals as being “extremely adaptable and really worried about me—going what’s to work for me.” “We communicate often, and it seems like having a new family member. While they are with Jim, I don’t worry about him.

The couple’s experience with home care has been so good that Gail has made arrangements for one of Jim’s qualified carers to go with them when they visit relatives in another state. Gail and her husband have always loved to travel, but doing so has become more and more challenging with time. They hope that with this additional assistance, they will be able to spend more time visiting distant relatives.

In-home care has played a critical role in helping Gail and Jim get their lives back in balance. They have developed a schedule that works extremely well for them. Gail gains just as much if not more from these services as Jim does, despite the fact that she isn’t the one who is getting them directly.


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Are you looking for compassionate and reliable home care services in Orange, Osceola, Brevard, or Seminole counties? Look no further than our professional team at Embracing Home Care! Our highly trained caregivers provide personalized care for seniors and individuals with disabilities, ensuring that they can continue to live independently in the comfort of their own homes. With a variety of services including personal care, transportation, meal preparation, and companionship, we strive to improve the quality of life for our clients and provide peace of mind for their families. Contact us today at 321-758-2036 to learn more about our affordable and flexible home care options and to schedule a consultation with one of our care coordinators. Let us help you or your loved one live life to the fullest!  We serve Central Florida cities like Orlando, Apopka, Ocoee, Winter Garden, Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville, Kissimmee, St.  Cloud, Celebration, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Longwood, Winter Springs, Cocoa Beach and more.

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