Question: My husband is afflicted with Parkinson's disease and I have been his caregiver for 16 years. I can't do it anymore. He insists there is no problem. What are my options? I'm not getting any sleep and when he falls, I can't pick him up. My health is being compromised and I'm at my wit's end.
Dr. Amy: I want to congratulate you for providing sixteen years of care to your husband! That truly is amazing. And now, it is important that you get some assistance so you can get enough sleep and have some time off from caregiving. Getting help will likely also help your husband be safer. I’m concerned about his falling and wonder if that is something you could also address.
I recommend you arrange for an assessment from a professional. This will help you and your husband figure out the best care plan. If you are financially eligible, a social worker from the Adult Services Unit of the Department of Social Services in you county will conduct an assessment. You might also choose to hire a geriatric care manager. They are experienced in helping people assess their care needs and will also help to arrange for the services. They would also be helpful in explaining to your husband how important it is that you get assistance and respite. A third option for an assessment is a home care company. They will come out and do an assessment to see if home care services would be useful. They may also be able to refer you to other appropriate services.
Caregivers truly are our unsung heroes. You have done an amazing job caring for your husband and it is important that you get some relief. Only then can you take the time you need to care for yourself--as well as continue to take good care of your husband. A professional assessment is an excellent starting point to getting the appropriate care you need. Good luck!
Get helpful tips and articles like these delivered to your email.