Caregiver Story | 11/08/21

Caregivers Come in All Ages

24% of family caregivers are ages 18 – 34.1

Elena moved in with her 89-year-old grandmother, who has dementia. She is a 25-year-old family caregiver who has worked with our Care Advocates to navigate her own caregiving journey and find support. Her story, shared here, is not uncommon, although her identity has been redacted.

How are you caring for your grandmother?

I do most of the cooking and cleaning, though sometimes we like to cook together. Mostly I try to be her companion. She’s been lonely since my grandpa died two years ago. We go for walks and drives and go to church together every week. I take her shopping and to all of her different doctor appointments.

I help her pick out an outfit to wear every day. She can do most of her personal care, but she just needs to be reminded that it’s time for a bath, for example.

We often hear from caregivers who wonder if they’re doing the right things for their loved ones. Connecting with experts can add helpful suggestions to the good things a caregiver is already doing, and provide confidence and peace of mind.

Perry, Carallel Care Advocate

Are there aspects of caregiving that you find challenging?

Sure! It really goes day by day. Some days are just like before and we have fun. But other days Gran’s memory gets bad, and she’s confused. She can ask me the same couple of questions over and over. We both get really frustrated and I don’t know what to do. 

I wish I understood what’s going on in her mind and how to do a better job helping her. I don’t know if I’m doing everything I should, and I’m not sure how to find out.

I’m also realizing that caregiving can be really exhausting! My family seems to think I can do it all, but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. I need to do some stuff on my own too, and I wasn’t sure how to talk with them about that.

Here are some ways
caregivers can get help:

Check out online experts with tips on caregiving topics like the Caregiver Action Network or AARP.

Access online resources and support groups like the Alzheimer’s Foundation or even your local hospital.

Use respite care benefits to give yourself a break!

References

  1. AARP, Caregiving in the U.S., 2020 Report

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