Caregiver – part 1
Rick fought having a caregiver. When he was first diagnosed in 2014, I thought about quitting my job to be with him but I didn’t and in 2016 it became necessary, either me or a caregiver. Before the bleed he was staying by himself and improving but after the bleed he needed a caregiver.
I took 2 weeks out of work when we came home from the hospital; I slept there with him, to be sure that he was going to be ok. I hoped that he would bounce back and it was really depressing when he didn’t. I was so worried that I wasn’t eating. My sisters came over to help me and saw that I was in a panic. I was down to 120 pounds; my normal weight should be 140 pounds. I had dark circles under my eyes, and looked really scary like the walking dead, you know? I couldn’t shower or do anything. They started coming over every day so that I had an hour to myself. I guess this is what people with newborns have to deal with right? I think new moms worry that their babies will die when mom sleeps right I was no different.
After 2 weeks I needed to go back to work but I was late every day, I would call Rick at 10:00 and check on him, then come home and spend 2 or 3 hours on my lunch break and go back to work so that he wasn’t alone for very long. I tried to do everything. As you can imagine, this wasn’t good for my job situation and it wasn’t enough for him either so I was torn. He didn’t want a caregiver but I was so stressed, I decided that it was time to have a caregiver. I thought to myself, how will I find a person that I can trust? I needed to find someone responsible and be able to deal with certain specific tasks. I needed someone caring and loving. I needed to find someone who I could trust and would know Rick’s quirks. I tried to find someone with training in dementia care. Should I get a certified nurse? Should I get someone strong enough to lift him if he needs that someday? What if their English isn’t perfect? Will Rick be able to understand them? I wished that I could find someone who could play guitar, to play along with him. I needed someone who loves music and could learn his music. I needed someone funny and entertaining, I could go on and on…
I called all my friends asking for references, nobody knew a caregiver. I asked one of my sisters to help me for a while because she was unemployed at the time and I could pay her and have some peace of mind. She said it was so much responsibility that it would be too much for her. I called a specialized agency that I had heard about on the radio. It was very expensive I thought that I could trust them. The director came to our condo for a home visit. She was a lovely lady from England. Rick loves England and the English accent. He loved her. She came to interview us. Turns out she was only the person to place the caregivers. The first girl she sent was a very nice 24 year old lady, very cute but I think like the say in my cartoons, the cat had her tongue. She didn’t really talk she just sat with him. It was awkward. She had a hard time finding ways to entertain him. I figured out that they had nothing in common. Rick looked at me and asked “why is this weird person here”? I couldn’t ask her to come back. The director offered other caregivers but Rick was reluctant and I told her that it wasn’t necessary.
Renee, my heart goes out to you. I would love to talk to you. I am living in a Retirement/Assisted living community in Hollywood. My partner Philip also has Alzheimers although we only call it memory loss. There are many outside caregivers here.. They are Filipino and I can tell you that they are the best. They are brought up to do this before they come from the Philipines and their English is very good. I could find out what agencies they use for you if you would like.
You can call me at 323-522-6045