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Caregiver Contest Runner Up Jayne: Humor, Dignity and Patience

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/28/19  9:44 AM PST

Jayne H. is from La Mesa, CA. Jayne provided the following biography: “My husband, Marty, was from Australia. I met him in Alaska. He was a surveyor and machinist & worked for the Alyeska Pipeline. We moved to Long Beach, CA for six years, and then to San Diego, the best place on earth. Our kids loved this superb city, the incredible Pacific Ocean and delightful weather. We exhibited at unique craft shows in our later years. Marty designed coffee tables and used butterflies under the glass. I made jewelry. We did shows mostly in California and some in Nevada and Arizona. It was fun, exciting, adventurous and a lot of hard work. It continued until my husband got sick at age 70. He had been the main salesman and started forgetting what to say to people. This was the first sign that something was wrong with him. He had numbness in his face and his walking gait was different – the result of a mini-stroke. I was now his caregiver and I read everything I could about strokes. We had therapists, nurses and bathers come to help him. I observed and wrote down everything that they did. Every day was a learning experience and was put to good use for the next couple of years.” When Jayne learned she was a runner up, she replied with: “I am thrilled about being one of the runner up winners in your wonderful contest. And what a good idea it is!”

What tips do you have for care at home?

Good day! I was my husband’s caregiver for three incredible years. He had a stroke first and then Parkinson’s and Dementia. He loved listening to music and that is what I put on for him to enjoy every day. I tried to find music from the 70’s and 80’s. He would recognize the songs and also be able to sing along with them.

From the beginning of this journey, I decided to handle the situation with humor, dignity and patience. It was the least that I could do for someone who had always been my soul-mate, provider and love. Luckily, he read the whole newspaper every day and that gave me time to prepare things and cleanup around the house. We did lots of exercises together. I knew how important that was.  I made up games using balls, bells, poker chips, dominoes, balloons, blocks, pots, rulers etc. We would play basketball, bowling, hiding, building, cards & games. I bought wooden children’s puzzles and found that they could keep him busy for at least an hour.

As time went on, he barely talked to me, but I knew that he could hear me. I kept him informed with the latest family news. Every day, I whispered in his ear that I loved him. He was a good patient and never gave up. Sadly, one day, he died at home, in his own bed and that is how he would have wanted it.

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

Winners were selected by a panel of independent judges: Maggie Bermudez, the Manager of Professional Training and Healthcare Services at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles; Alethea Mshar, a blogger, mom of two children with Down syndrome and a frequent contributor to Shield HealthCare’s GROW community; and Joy Hooper, a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse and the lead instructor of the Wound Care Education Institute’s ostomy courses. Click here to learn more.


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