The Caregiver’s Voice Media Questions
- You began caring for your eighty-six year old father while still on your thirties. How did you get involved?
There are many reasons–some of them:
My father was living the life of a homeless hermit in his Wisconsin home of forty-five years. He had not showered nor changed his clothes in six months.
$100,000 in US Savings bonds were nestled between two books in the built-in oak bookshelves.
He was walking along the expressway until the police picked him up after he became disoriented driving 90 miles from Milwaukee to Chicago.
My sister and bother who lived near or with him were too busy to get involved.
- How did you learn your father had Alzheimer’s?
Little things began adding up. He was forgetting names, getting lost, and growing increasingly disorientated about the time and place. He also was hallucinating vividly. A comprehensive assessment made it clear.
- You mention moving your father from his Wisconsin home of forty-five years to your California home. How did you decide to do this? What effect did this have on you, your husband, and your father?
After waiting for my two older siblings to take care of him (one lived in our father’s home), my husband and and I were sampling Milwaukee’s finest brews, when we decided to care for my neglected father–more proof of the dangers of a DUI (Deciding Under the Influence). Initially, it was stressful and an uncertain time leading to a major life change for all of us. We managed to make the best of it and have FUN.
- What did you do before you became a caregiver and how did taking care of your father impact your career?
Provided communication and leadership programs for organizations, Proposal development, Speaker, and Author of books on career development, communications, and leadership. Initially, I thought my career was finished. Today, I see the act of caregiving as my life transformed.
- You wrote in “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s that you haven’t spoken to your sister and brother. Are you talking with them now?
- Is your father still living?
My father died six months before 9-11. Undoubtedly, you reestablished connections with your brother and sister when your father died.
Sadly, no. I’ve tried over the years with no results. I’m afraid I’ve given up.
- What have you learned from this experience?
There’s no shortage of caregivers transformed by the experience. I learned that I didn’t have to wait until I lived to be seventy to learn what really matters in life.
- Is there one tip you can offer caregivers?
Care for your loved one as you would like to be cared for if you had the same illness/disease. For more see Tips for Caregivers.
- Where can our listeners / viewers go for help? Visit us at TheCaregiversVoice.com.