Caregivers need Support and Time to Recharge

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Six years ago, Maggie, almost 90, left her own home to move near her daughter, Lynn, a community college teacher in northwestern Minnesota. Maggie had been living alone, was growing frail, and most friends and family near by had either moved or passed on.

“My mother is strong willed, a tough gal who doesn’t want help, doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone,” said Lynn. “I had suggested that she move near me for quite awhile. Finally, she decided it was her idea, and we moved her near me.”

Within months, Lynn realized Maggie’s needs were dominating her time and energy. Maggie had questions and worries. She had to be accompanied to doctor appointments, and needed help with household matters, and finances. It was stressful to reverse roles.

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Keeping caregivers healthy


Looking back, Jan Oian now sees the signs she missed of her husband’s changing health condition. Stan would lose his train of thought, and Jan would finish sentences for him. When Stan was driving, he would miss turns on common routes home. Eventually, Stan was diagnosed with early dementia.

Nationwide, 91% of caregiving is provided by family members. Jan is now caring around the clock for her husband of 63 years and appreciates the trained caregiver from Lutheran Social Service, Mary Beth Simmer, who offers her four-hour breaks each week to rest or run errands.

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