We had been serving Columbus, Ohio’s seniors and their families since 2004. You just never know what the next call may bring. You are never be fully prepared for the rewards of learning lessons you receive from helping others. In the Spring of 2009 we got a phone call from a family caregiver. Paul had been taking care of his wife since the very beginning of her bout with Multiple Sclerosis. Paul detailed the hard work he must do each day to care for his wife Michelle. Her energies had been compromised to the level in which Paul was doing complete care.
70% of Michelle’s activities of daily living were being done by Paul without her being able to assist him whatsoever. I quickly realized I was speaking to a man who was an exceptional caregiver, and a prolific husband. We are not always well prepared to begin our services. While it would make our role exponentially easier, not all families are alike and often the job that we will come to be doing remains a mystery until our initial assessment. Sometimes, care needs increase between our initial assessment and our first home care visit.
In Paul & Michelle’s home, our role was expertly detailed. Paul could tell you exactly how much water his wife had for the day/week/month. Many of the care concerns that Paul had stemmed from his own exhaustion. Paul was after all a human being. The care that his wife needed after Paul’s stamina ran out by early evening was exposing a great care concern. Paul was seeing his wife’s immediate overnight needs go unfulfilled. It was driving him crazy that he couldn’t personally operate as an effective caregiver 24-Hours a day.
As I got to know more about Paul, he shared with me that he had retired a few years before becoming a full-time spouse caregiver. I advised Paul that while he was working 45 hours a week until he retired, that he was now working 168 hours a week. This was the comment that changed Paul’s ENTIRE perspective. He knew he was at a crossroads and that if he didn’t allocate help for Michelle in the evenings, he would soon be completely burned out. Had he continued to provide care without sleep, Paul was able to paint his own picture for what burnout would look like for his family. Michelle’s care needs wouldn’t change only because Paul was burned out. Paul would be failing by his own measure if he attempted to continue to provide care with zero sufficient rest.
We quickly settled upon a care plan. Evening care. 8pm to 9am. This would cover several things. First and foremost, Paul would be able to continue in his duties as Michelle’s primary caregiver. Michelle would have her favorite caregiver, Paul, caring for her each day. With evening care from some of our tremendous evening staff, Paul could get the rest he needed and Michelle could get the attention she required.
An interesting thing happened the first day our caregiver Monica arrived to care for Michelle. Monica had already been trained, introduced and prepared with all the details necessary to care for Michelle as Paul does. Monica arrived a few minutes before 8pm. She said hello to Paul, and got started with a blood pressure check on Michelle. Within a few minutes, Monica could hear a log being sawed. Or so she thought. It was Paul on the other side of the house, sound asleep by 8:15pm. This pattern did not change by more than a few minutes each and every day we served Paul and Michelle for over 3 years. Once we had been handed the baton of care responsibilities by Paul, you could almost set a timer for 10 minutes. He would be sleeping soundly, preparing his heart mind and soul for tomorrow’s important care duties. Each morning, Paul would wake refreshed and eager to learn how the night had went. Before our staff would leave for their own rest, Paul always insisted upon making breakfast for his wife, and showed his appreciation by always including our team for breakfast with he and Michelle.
Ben Smith is the Founder & President of Always There Home Care. Smith’s continuing mission is providing solutions for family caregivers like Paul. With our prolific support, families like Paul’s can exist in harmony. Thanks to attentive care plans and 24-Hour Home Care Support, care can begin quickly. The families we have served in the past would advise you to that you may never plan to fail, but you can fail to plan. Begin to plan today, and begin by having a detailed discussion about your care concerns. We can explain how best we can help.
Call today to schedule a FREE In-Home Care Assessment so we can begin to understand the needs of your senior loved one. (614) HOME-CARE 466-3227
Check out our Social Media!
Visit us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AlwaysThereHomeCareColumbus
Follow us on Twitter: @HomeCareOhio
NEW: Check out our cool INSTAGRAM and follow us! AlwaysThereHomeCare