My Care Giving Angel
It's been a few weeks since Cindy started coming over to spend time with Clay - to relieve me of my care giving duties. She comes at least once a week. What a blessing! The long term care of any individual can be exhausting, at times, so I now call Cindy 'my angel'
I still haven't done anything 'fun' .. yet, but I do take my time with errands now, and sometimes I even take a stroll around the town's square. I also still check in if I'm gone more than 2 hours, just in case. It's hard to let go completely.
When I took care of my grandmother, who had Alzheimer's, I didn't feel as much need to be with her every moment. She didn't have long term mobility issues, she just couldn't remember things. She minded the big signs we put up all over the house, and she wore her nametag with her address and phone number on it, so she was more self-sufficient.
Clay is almost a quadriplegic. He has limited use of all his limbs, but since his strength, coordination, range of motion and balance are so compromised, he can't even get out of a chair, let alone walk across the room by himself.
He is totally dependent on an aid 24/7. And forget about showering or using the toilet, as I've mentioned before. Those are the two hardest parts of the day. For me, as a caregiver, the potential for injury/re-injury looms. For him it is exhausting. Actually it is exhausting for us both.
So far, thank goodness, Cindy has not had to deal with Clay's toileting. I hope she will be spared.
I do wish that we could afford to pay someone - perhaps a CNA as has been suggested - to help with Clay's showering. Medicare paid for professionals to come help out for a couple of months after Clay took a series of bad falls. It was WONDERFUL to have the help, but Medicare does not pay for very long and only if the person is in recovery from a hospital stay. Medicare does not pay for long term care.
This is why we started the Buyer Advocate outreach Service for Long Term Care insurance. Clay is the perfect poster child! If Clay had bought a Long Term Care insurance policy with home care and assisted living, we would not be in our current situation. Our lives would be so different and so much easier.
But he waited too long, was diagnosed with MS and now no LTC insurance company will cover him.
Clay and I are the typical baby boomer couple, except that we do not own a home, nor do we have much savings. The first is by choice, and the second is from unexpected expenses. We spent our youth having as much fun as possible. We figured we'd die young.
I didn't think I'd live past age 25 (Every birthday is a big surprise, and I'll be having my 25th surprise soon). We didn't dwell on aging and all that comes with it. Well, live and learn - Medical expenses and inflation come with aging!
Therefore, we have no money to hire CNAs or any other professional to help with bathing, etc. We will not go back into debt, as that would create an even more stress, and we certainly don't need more stress!
Since we are new to our community, we have few friends, but even so we would not ask friends to help with such things. We have no family around us, either, and even if the kids did live close by, they have their own busy lives.
If it weren't for our angel, Cindy, our lives would be more challenging, as they were just a few weeks ago.
So thank you, thank you, Cindy. Let's hear big hurrahs for all those selfless folks who dedicate their lives to service, whether paid or not. What goes around comes around and Cindy has a whole lotta good stuff comin' her way.
About the author:
Long term care insurance activist, CB Cotton, and his wife, Kimberly, write for www.PrepSmart.com - The Online Baby Boomers Decision Assistance Center, where you get Free Long Term Care Insurance advice, comparative rate quotes and personal guidance, all while safely at home in your favorite pajamas and bunny slippers.