There is help out there for Caregivers in Minnesota
As we all get older, there’s a chance you’ll be called into duty to be a caregiver for someone you love. Before making the move to Minnesota, I spent the last year back in the house I grew up in helping to care for my elderly mother. Mom is 92 and has dementia among other health challenges. To say that my life was dramatically altered when I became a caregiver is quite an understatement.
You’ve probably heard the term “feeling like you’re on an Island by yourself”? At times that’s what it felt like. Mom still remembered me, and my wife, but would often forget the name of our dog who was there with us. There were two really draining aspects of being a caregiver to my mom, first she talks non-stop. I talk for a living, and she talks circles around me. I equate it to a chain smoker who lights one cigarette off of another, she would go from one topic to another without much of a breath. The second challenge was that she would talk about the same subjects over and over again, often times mere moments after she’d just talked about it before.
How Life Changed
When I was there, it was her schedule, not mine. “What time do the med’s need to be given”, “is it time for her to eat”, etc. And much as I hate to admit this, some nights it was “when can I put her to bed”, so I can have a conversation with my wife or watch a show on TV to disconnect from the day. Between working full-time and covering Mom at night and sharing weekend time with my sister, everything evolved around when I needed to be with Mom. I had to juggle when I needed to work along with my sister’s schedule to make sure we had coverage for Mom.
What Help Is Available?
If you’re finding yourself in a situation like this, or you feel you will soon, here’s some advice. Start as early as possible investigating the options you have for help for the person you care for or will be caring for as well as yourself. Do you or your loved one qualify for In-Home Care and to what level? Are there options for respite assistance, meaning funding to help pay for someone to come in so you can attend to the things in your life that need to be attended to. The State of Minnesota has a good starting point with the Senior LinkAge Line.
You can call Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30, 1-800-333-2433 to get the process started. You will have many questions about the costs of services that are offered and is there a waiting list. We found some of the waiting lists move faster than others, for one reason or another. But, even if you must wait for certain types of services, there could be a shorter-term option that offers support in the meantime.
When you get the process started, you’ll find you’re no longer on that island you thought you were on and trust me you’ll want to know about all the resources that are available.