Nominated by friend DeAnn Higginbotham-White
In 2007, Tammy had her own condo in Miami, a nice career, and was in a long-standing relationship.
Her two sisters were giving her updates about their mom’s bouts of dementia. For example, the police picked up their mother in front of a church at 2:00 am. She told them her neighbor was trying to kill her. She could hear him sawing the house.
Tammy decided it best to move back to Buckhannon, West Virginia to help care for her mom, as her sisters were married, had children, and careers of their own.
Tammy’s love for her mother and all that she has given up to care for her…for both reasons, she definitely needs to be recognized.
— Director of a caregiver resource center and TCV Selection Committee Member
After a few months, it became apparent that her mom could NOT be left unattended. Tammy moved in and her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend returned to Miami.
As with most families, caregiving fell on Tammy’s her shoulders full time after she moved in with her mom. Her two sisters didn’t really know how to help. Meanwhile, as dementia progressed and their mother’s condition worsened, they began to understand what a responsibility Tammy had undertaken. Despite this, each was unable to help due to distance or declining health.
Tammy, has given up everything to care for someone – that, to me, is the ultimate sacrifice a person can make. She chose to care for her Mom, she didn’t have to.
— Geriatric Care Manager and TCV Selection Committee Member
Tammy bore the weight of her mom’s delusions; such as the time her mom informed her son-in-law that Tammy had poisoned the potato soup. She refused to eat it or anything else Tammy made. She believed Tammy was trying to kill her. Instead of sampling a spoonful of soup to prove to his mother-in-law that the soup was not poisoned and in fact, delicious; he pacified her then dumped the soup in the trash. This only further reinforced his mother-in-law’s paranoia.
Tammy’s mom still accuses her of stealing her things–money, jewelry, checks, and keys. Her mother constantly threatens to call the police. Fortunately, she doesn’t know how to make a phone call, tell time, or read a calendar.
She gave up her job/house/life to care for her mother. She even moved in to care for her mom instead of institutionalizing her.
— Long-distance Caregiver for his Father and TCV Selection Committee Member
To keep her sanity and afford living expenses, Tammy has held a part-time job for most of the time she has cared for her mom.
It has been five years since Tammy became the sole caregiver for her mom. She is to be commended for her selfless devotion.
I pray the Lord continues to enable Tammy to keep her promise to herself to stay and care for her mom for the rest of her mom’s life.
Tammy and I have been one another’s support group. I send her informative links from The Intentional Caregiver and other online resources for dementia and Alzheimer’s to help her better cope as a caregiver.
TCV’s Caregiver of the Month will receive the Medical Info Tri-fold Pocket Book from PersonCare.net in addition to a copy of Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s: When Tears are Dried with Laughter.
DeAnn Higginbotham-White‘s nomination has been edited. TCV Ed.
Help a caregiver get deserved recognition.
Click on Nominate The Caregiver’s Voice Caregiver of the Month of March.
Due February 10, 2012