Britnee from Louisiana
My name is Britnee. I'm a 30 year old Chemist in Louisiana. In 2013, my father Percy Sr. was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. He is a 90 year old World War II veteran. He has been a WONDERFUL dad to me so the least I could do was take care of him. Being a caregiver has been challenging for me these past two and a half years. Besides being a caregiver to my dad, I also have a very energetic 2 year old son AND I work 12 hour shifts. There are not enough hours in a day to do everything! My dad requires a lot of attention. There are doctor appointments, prescriptions, bills and other finances, grocery shopping and cooking, general day to day activities, and simply spending quality time with him. Between him, my son and work...No, I don't have much "me" time but that's okay as long as he and my son are taken care of.
This past July, I was invited to the White House Conference on Aging to participate in a Caregivers Panel. I was there to share my story. Honestly, I didn't know I had a story. The WCOA made me realize that I did have a story and I could help others who were going through the same thing. I was told that I am apart of the "Sandwich Generation" where I'm a caregiver to a parent and I also care for a young child. I now know that I am not alone and would love to help others like me.
I have had many challenges. My hardest challenge is my dad (laughs). He is so independent. He is usually the one helping me and others but now its his turn to be helped and he hasn't quite accepted that. My dad has never used any benefits available to him from the VA. Prior to WCOA, I had a hard time getting in touch with someone there that could guide me in the right direction. Thanks to connecting with some of the VA administration at WCOA, I was able to get my dad his medical benefits and he is also on the waiting list for the VA Home.
Balance has also been a challenge. I am still a mom, so my son is top priority. They keep each other company so that I am able to do things like cook or clean so I'm thankful for that.
The best part of this experience was being able to take care of my dad. I got to know so much about him and myself. It has been an honor to take care of the man who has been so great to me. This journey is definitely not easy but I have been blessed to have to pretty awesome people around me to keep me encouraged when time get stressful.