Being a Caregiver

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How Time Flies

Since I was a little girl, I remember my dad making me promise to take care of him when he was old and feeble. I recall jokingly responding that “of course I would” and thinking it felt odd that my perfectly able and strong father would ever even get to that point. Even still, at age 68, he’s quick witted, and in the best shape of his life. I anticipate him being around for years to come, but it is important to talk about the “what if’s” and “when’s” of it all.

Watching my grandparents enter this stage, and seeing my parents navigate their caregiving has opened my eyes to the challenges. My dad’s dad passed away in his early 70’s as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. My dad has studied up on how to combat and hopefully prevent that illness through brain games and memorizing.

My dad’s mom passed away at age 91, so that longevity gene is strong.

In the past few years since my mom passed away early, I’ve had the opportunity to step in her place a little and discuss options for my grandparents, her parents. My grandpa just passed away this past summer at age 95, and my grandma, his wife, had to make some decisions about her own care.

Until grandpa passed away, both of my grandparents lived in their home until age 95. They cooked, cleaned, did their own laundry (walking downstairs to the basement) and drove to appointments.

Unfortunately, grandpa fell in a parking lot after they went to dinner one night in July, and though his injuries were fairly minor, it seemed he suffered a mini stroke, which prevented him from swallowing. A feeding tube was pulled out, and it was just a matter of time before he passed away 2 weeks later. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to fly out and spend 2 days with him, where I got to sing his favorite songs, recall memories of my childhood, and bask in his outpouring of love that he’s always shown me.

When grandpa passed away, grandma finally decided it was time to move into a care facility, but since she didn’t have any specific care needs, she was able to find a place centered on community.

I’ve had the chance to talk to my grandma quite a bit during this process and help her weigh the pros and cons of the assisted care facility, and I’m so grateful for that.

Since I live several states away from grandma, I’m not able to be there on a regular basis, but thankfully her daughter, my aunt, lives just down the street.

Being a Caregiver

Did you know that more than 40 million Americans provide care to their aging loved ones each year?  It can be a heart-wrenching, exhausting and overwhelming responsibility. Half of those report they experience high levels of stress, which can impact their own personal and professional relationships and responsibilities.

I’ve never been a sole caregiver, but I can imagine the pressure, as I’ve seen my parents go through that experience with their parents.

Even with the strain, the responsibility to be a caregiver is an important one, filled with enriching experiences as well. Being a caregiver can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a burden with all of the resources out there to help things go more smoothly.

I’ve recently been introduced to Philips Cares, an app that unites family care circles in the caregiving experience, even when they can’t physically “be there.” 

The app lets family and friends send messages and monitor incident reports and alerts related to the care of an aging loved one—all through a web or mobile application. Caregivers can set up a personalized response plan in the event of an incident, detailing who to contact. Additionally, the app lets caregivers monitor their senior’s use of Philips Lifeline, a personal alert system that allows a user to press a button to communicate with a trained care specialist when in distress. Philips Cares digital solution is a great option for families to help ease and enrich the aging journey for seniors.

Download the Philips Cares mobile application and decide if this service is the right fit for your family.

Watch the video below to see how to operate the Care Circle.

This post is sponsored by Philips Cares, but all opinions are my own.  #makelifebetter #PhilipsLifeline