By Sheila Phibbs
The Haldimand Press
Note: The Haldimand Press was contacted by a reader who wished to share his experiences as a caregiver for a loved one. It is his hope that his story will show other caregivers that they are not alone and that what he has learned may help others faced with the task to help prepare them for the challenges and expectations involved. Out of respect for privacy, we are calling them John and Jane.
HALDIMAND—John and Jane have been married for 20 years. Like many couples, they have enjoyed a variety of sport and leisure activities and travel. Twelve years ago, at the age of 60, Jane showed the first indications of health problems with signs of Parkinson’s Disease.
She was able to continue with her everyday routine for a few years, but a diagnosis of colitis six years ago necessitated John’s new role as caregiver. She developed ulcerated Colitis and was hospitalized for three weeks. The Parkinson’s progressed, she fell more frequently, and she required special attention to their living environment to ensure her safety, such as gates. A special diet was also needed to manage the Colitis. John took care of the household chores, including cooking, cleaning, and shopping.
With Jane living at home with two diseases, John admits, “The time to help her increased to the point where my own health was jeopardized and my knowledge to administer adequate care was greatly reduced.”