Edwina from Delaware
After having 9 months of sobriety from drugs/alcohol, I started caring for my 2nd husband Paul who had lung cancer. He was paralyzed. I sought help with his social worker who informed me of available services and how to obtain a durable power of attorney, including medical. Being of an African culture, we believe in providing home care to family members. Because I was involved with a 12-Step Program, I understood the value of attending a support groups for his ailment and my role as a caregiver. I found out about other services through this network. Hospice became involved and learned more about available services, allowing me to work full time and later part-time. With the help of limited Hospice svs, I administered most of his needs when meds, food, cleaning, injections, etc. He lasted about 1 year before he passed in Nov. 1991. Since then, I have taken care of 6 other family members who have since passed: Aunt Margaret, Cousin Alphonso, 3rd Husband Willie, and the last three at the same time: Aunt Elsie, Mother Helen, & Sister Deborah who died Aug. 2016. All had different issues in personal care, which expanded my knowledge of a caregiver. Most challenging was learning how to deal with my financial obligations with limited income. Lost one home and faced foreclosure with primary residence. Most rewarding was learning how to appreciate the fond memories of providing personal attention and affection; learning the value of living in the present. Advice to other caregivers, embrace the opportunity, ask for help, find balance and capture the memories with videos, pictures and recordings; most of all, believe that YOU were chosen and YOU can do it with grace, humility and no regrets!