Both professional staff and clients experienced immense stress that often comes with caregiving. This area of special interest touches me both personally and professionally. My professional background includes working for Lutheran Senior Services as a Private Duty Staffing Coordinator. Here, family members would call needing perhaps round-the-clock staffing for a spouse or parent being released from the hospital. That is stressful for everyone. In my private practice and as a previous speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association, I facilitate inservices for nurses and lead discussions for caregiver groups. Since 2015, I have facilitated a monthly caregiver support group for spouses at a local residential facility where I previously served on the Board. I love working with these couples, some of whom have been married 60+ years and are facing the challenges of caregiving for a spouse.
I have a particular heart for caregivers because of my rather unique personal background working with elderly family members. As an only child with no cousins, I spent 18 years making sometimes life and death decisions with my parents and three aunts. During much of this time, I was in the “sandwich generation” while caring for my young daughters at the other end of the spectrum. End of life issues are great stressors in and of themselves. It is challenging when in advanced age many of the elderly do not respond well to change at a time when they have to consider huge life transitions. Spouses, children, grandchildren, and other family members desperately need resources, strong support and a huge sense of humor. I offer these qualities and enjoy working with these courageous and resourceful family members.