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Caregiver Contest Finalist Cindy: Take Time to Just Sit and Chat

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/12/18  1:21 PM PST
Take Time

Cindy F. is from California, and was one of forty finalists chosen out of the over 1,000 entries to our “What Advice Would You Give to a Fellow Caregiver?” Contest. You can find our grand prize and runner up winners here.

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

I have been caregiving for several years now. I have my mom who has end stage Alzheimer’s and I just lost my sister last month to an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that destroyed both of her legs and caused kidney failure — it was a complete nightmare. Since my caregiving was for two completely different issues, I had to take the time to educate myself for both different conditions. With more knowledge of each I found that I could more effectively understand and care for each of them.

I know the importance of patience, kindness & compassion, especially with my sister’s condition, since she was aware of her declining situation. In my caregiving responsibilities I was so very busy and realized I needed to take time to just sit and chat with her. We would have great discussions regarding her life, fears, disease, etc. It was so good for both of us.

In my mom’s case, her communication skills are gone but I sit and hold her hand. And she grips it tight.  She may not be able to communicate but she knows I am there.

Advise for caregivers: caregiving means you are giving so much of yourself — make sure you have back-up support in place. You need to have some time to get away from the situation so you don’t lose patience or over exhaust yourself. Also, a support group can be very helpful. For example, I belong to the Alzheimer’s Association and join online support group to chat with others about what we are all dealing with. Helps so much to know you’re not alone.

Another great word of advice is: Take it one day at a time. If you try to think of it terms of the next months or week or years it is too extremely overwhelming. One day at a time is all I can handle.

Now that I have lost my sister I can look back even with all the struggles and frustrations and pain I can say being her caregiver gave me more time with her and helped me realize we did all we could for her.

Click here to head to the contest home page and read more advice.

Finalists were selected by the Marketing Team at Shield HealthCare. Those finalists were submitted to a panel of independent judges who picked three grand prize winners and five runners up. The judges included: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.


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