PREBLE COUNTY
COUNCIL ON AGING

Celebrating 45 Years of Service

1973 - 2018

Caregivers Corner: Being An Effective Caregiver

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Are you a Caregiver?  Yes?  If you have a few minutes, I’d like to talk with you.  If you aren’t a Caregiver but have a friend that is a Caregiver, I’d like to talk with you too…maybe you can use what I write here to help your Caregiver friend. 

                  As an effective Caregiver, what are you doing to take care of you?  When was the last time someone else took care of your loved one so you could have a break?  I know, no one can care for your loved one like you do, but what have you done for you lately?

                  I visit homes of many seniors in Preble County when they request some help with housekeeping.  A couple of months ago, I was in a couple’s home talking with the Caregiver about the support he needed. After he had a short hospital stay, he realized that he could use some “help around the house”.  I talked with him not only about housekeeping but about Respite and Adult Day Care also.  Of course, he felt that he wasn’t having any difficulty caring for his spouse.  I asked him:  “Who will care for her if and when you can’t?”  Softly he replied through tears:  “There’s no one.” 

Sadly, I have many similar stories from people I’ve come to know through PCCOA.  It doesn’t matter how often I plead with them to “get help in place” or “give yourself a break”, they seem to think it isn’t going to happen to them.  So when it does happen, there is a crisis that could have been avoided as someone else is trying to figure out what to do to help their loved one.

There was a period of time that my Mother needed drops in her eyes 8 times a day.  So, I would stay in her home to give her the night drops. During the day, I would go to my home (1/4 mile away) and return every 3 hours for the other drops.  After a couple of weeks, she only needed the drops 3 times each day.  I was exhausted.  Eventually, I found a retired nurse to come in to do the drops when I needed to get away… at no charge!  She just enjoyed having something to do and she also liked talking with my Mom.

As a Caregiver, it is critical to take care of yourself.  ASK for help.  There are respite opportunities available in our community if you need help.  Job and Family Services has funding available through Adult Protective Services for those that qualify and are income eligible ($2,670 income per month for a couple).  If you qualify, you would be eligible for 30 hours per month. 

PCCOA contracts with Preble Home Health Services for Respite Services.  Eligibility for this service will be needs based and the same sliding fee scale that is used for Housekeeping will apply.  The number of available respite hours will vary, based on the total number of in-home service hours needed (includes housekeeping).