Meet young caregiver Rachel Hiles, who cares for her grandmother, Barbara, and is the guardian for a friend.
Meet Tony Rovere, who cared for his mother.
Tony Rovere's website, StuffSeniorsNeed.com, is designed for caregivers, listing all of the resources and sources of assistance he compiled over the last 5 years.
What's your caregiving story?
I became an "unprepared caregiver" after my mother’s heart attack forced me to navigate the myriad resources of charities and government assistance that are out there.
What's the hardest part of being a caregiver?
At first, it was the shock of being plunged in to a world I was totally unprepared for. Next, it was the drain on me physically and financially. And finally, it was dealing with the grief of Mom's passing.
What do you need the most as a caregiver?
For me dealing with Mom's illness for 3 years before she passed it was the emotional support that was needed the most. Everyone is so busy with their lives but it always seems that one person ends up doing 99.99% of the caregiving duties. And that was me!
What worries you the most as a caregiver?
Looking back for me, it was waiting for THE CALL (the one to say that she was terminal), knowing that it would come eventually. And even after she passed, I am now thinking about these issues with Dad. I am infinitely more prepared now than before but I know it is coming. It's not a matter of if, but when.
If you got unexpected time off from caregiving, what would you do/where would you go?
Towards the end I did. Mom couldn't go out and at the end was confined to her bed. I really didn't think about going anywhere, even after she passed. I just wanted to begin my life again.
What do you want people to know about caregiving/your caregiving life?
That caregiving is a full-time job with none of the rewards of a full-time job.
YOUR TURN: As we approach Mother's Day, have you cared for your own mother? Still do? Tell us what you love about the role and what challenges you.
Caregiving may have its bright spots, but it's not a life Jolyon Hallows would wish on anyone. Find out why, and read more about Hallows's experiences as the caregiver for his wife.