Wednesday , 16 April 2014

Caregiving and Comfort (#CaregiverComfort)

Abuela had a stroke on a December day, way back when. I’ll never forget the call. The drive to the hospital. Seeing her in the emergency room. The comatose state she was in for weeks. But she lived.

And that meant that we would care for her. At home. No matter what. I remember even now thinking about how the neurosurgeon gave us the side eye and people continually asked if we were putting her in an assisted living facility.

Now let me say that there’s nothing wrong with a facility. Not everyone is able to take care of someone in his or her home. But for us, that was never an option. So we gritted our teeth as we explained (over and over again) and tried to remember that they were looking out for abuela’s best interest too. I always laugh when I think of the follow up appointment where the doctor admitted that he did not think she would recover the way that she did and attributed it to the care she was receiving.

This week I had the chance to read an eye-opening white paper put out by Comfort Plus: The State of the Hispanic Caregiver.  I know that my family and I most certainly belong to the ranks of the caregivers.  Did you know that the percent of Hispanic older persons living with other relatives is almost twice that of the total older population?

For us, caregiving brought with it a great deal of joy in each and every one of abuela’s little accomplishments.  Also knowing that she was comfortable and at ease in familiar surroundings was major.  But it was not without its challenges. Schedules, pills, doctor’s appointments. All had to be kept in order especially with more than one person helping out.  The white paper reports that caregiving Hispanics report the most stress factors from caregiving.  I think a few things cause this. Certainly the expectation that has been set from generations of caregiving has to weigh on us. I know that abuela took care of her mother and her mother-in-law. For years and years and years (like, well over 10!). She provided it day in and day out and I know they were grateful for that. I never heard her complain or say that the time was wasted or a burden. She always spoke of that time fondly and now, I know why.

I also think the business of caregiving is overwhelming at times.  And I know that back then, I wasn’t finding a lot of help online.  I hope that I was an asset to my family during that time. Not for the first time, I thought about all of the people that had no one to advocate for them. No one to provide much-needed information that could help lighten the burden of care. Even as savvy as I am, I had a hard time finding information on elderly care, where to go for help with the different challenges we were having, etc.

When I read about Comfort Plus Online, I thought it sounded like a great resource and I found out that it was. I wish it had been around all of those years ago.  With more of us turning to the Internet for our information, and so many non-profit and government agencies unable to provide help with where to turn, it’s good to know that there’s a website out there to provide some of this.  I love that Comfort Plus provides information on their site in both languages and that they not only have products but they provide a caregiving section.

I found that it was the little things that were immensely helpful in relieving some of that caregiving stress. Something as simple as having items delivered to the home would bring relief because it meant that a schedule wouldn’t have to be set for someone to run out while someone else watched abuela. Things that small made a big difference.

We had such a great time with Abuela, even with the dementia that was brought forth due to the stroke after a while.  She remained with us for 6 years before God called her home.  Always with a smile on her face and until she became non-verbal, with a funny word or two.  I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world.  I know mami, being the primary caretaker, wouldn’t have traded it either.

It’s good to know that there’s a resource out there for others who may be going through a similar situation. I will do anything in my power to spread the word if it means bringing a little comfort and ease to the tough job of caregiving.

If you are a caregiver or know of one, please pass on this information.  Comfort Plus also has a Facebook fan page. Well, they have two: one in English and one in Spanish as well as a Twitter account. Be sure to head over and give them a like and follow.

For those that are looking to make a purchase on the Comfort Plus site, I have great news! You can use discount count LMB2012 for $10 off any case of Tranquility products.

And if you are lucky enough to be able to provide someone with love and care during their time of need don’t forget to take a little time to care for yourself. We like to forget that little task sometimes (especially us moms).

Have you cared for someone at home? What challenges did you deal with and what rewards meant the most to you?

This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and ComfortPlus Online. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

About Sili

Sili is the owner and Chief Executive Mami of Mamihood Media and My Mamihood. Selected as one of Latina Magazine’s top Blogger to Know in 2014 and Latina Magazine’s top 10 Mommy bloggersin 2013, My Mamihood was described as “a haven for fashion inspiration, baby concerns, must read books and even tech musings! This blog will keep you reading for hours…” When not appearing on top 10 lists or speaking passionately about those things she holds near and dear to hear heart, this Afro Latina loves hanging out with her frog princess, helping others, trash talking in her setting up all-girl Fantasy football leagues, reading and finding new gadgets to play with. She is currently punishing herself by pursuing an MBA with a concentration in social media from Southern New Hampshire University on hiatus from school much to the chagrin of her Type A personality.

9 comments

  1. SO scary. Nothing compares to that worry, that fear, the unknown. I am so sorry for your loss. Close to my Grandfather’s death my mother stepped in as his caretaker. I couldn’t handle or accept him being sick, so I stayed away, and didn’t see him much before he passed, which I will always regret. He passed away on my birthday four years ago today. I will never forget the call, the emotion, the despair. It is so important to have loving and caring caregivers, and I’m glad my grandpa had my mom, and I hope I can be there for my mom during her time of need. xo
    Alexandra recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • Sili
      Twitter: mymamihood

      You will be. It’s amazing what happens to you when you have to step up and handle it. Trust me ;-).

    • Sili
      Twitter: mymamihood

      You will be. It’s amazing what happens to you when you have to step up and handle it. Trust me ;-).

    • Sili
      Twitter: mymamihood

      You will be. It’s amazing what happens to you when you have to step up and handle it. Trust me ;-).

  2. What a beautiful story of how your family cared for Abuela. As my parents are aging, I see this coming . . . I will certainly remember Comfort Plus for future reference.
    Blessings, Sili!
    Martha Orlando recently posted.."All Night, All Day, Angels Watching Over Me, My Lord . . ."My Profile

  3. I cared for my Aunt for several months before she died. It was the most incredible experience of my life and I would not trade it for anything. But I was single and didn’t have children. I’ve watched my mother care for her father and my mother-in-law care for her own mom and mother-in-law. It’s gut-wrenching and back breaking work. I am in awe of those who do it for years without end. It is truly a noble offering.
    Chrysula recently posted..3 Reasons Why A Woman Who “Waited” Til Marriage Still Needs ContraceptionMy Profile

  4. This is what I call- perfect timing. I’m bringing my mother to live with me from Philly next week. She’s very ill and needs care. I’m heading over Comfort Plus site to learn more about their services. Thanks for a great post!
    Karina Fernández recently posted..Tips para que Tú Manicure Dure MásMy Profile

  5. It is so wonderful that you got to spend that time with her. My Granny lived for ten+ years with dementia. In the beginning her memories would come and go but it didn’t take long for it to progress. It is a sad situation to watch someone who was once so vibrant and full of life seemingly disappear before your eyes. My aunt was the main care-giver for her but the rest of the family chipped in to help out until she was to the point that we could not manage it medically. Her last months were spent in a nursing home. When she died she was a shell of her former self. A husk of the wonderful woman that once was. I was relieved by her passing. She was in so much pain those last few months of her life. I know that she went to a better place with no more pain. I see my parents getting older day by day and I wonder if I will be up for the task of caring for them when this happens. I pray that I am.
    Michele B recently posted..SocialMomsRewards.com PaymentMy Profile

  6. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the website is really good.|

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