Who says that it’s just one person in your immediate circle who will be needing intensive caregiving? For Felicitas Rocha, the strains of caregiving multiplied when, in addition to caring for her husband for five years, she had to start caring for her mother, who had broken her hip.
“She got to a cliff, with her mother and husband both competing for her care,” says Gail Sheehy, who interviewed Rocha for her book, Passages in Caregiving. “What was key”—to Rocha’s survival and sanity—“was that she stayed with a frustrating but ultimately productive search for a care manager.”
In Sheehy’s view, “A care manager is deliverance for the caregiver.” Rocha found one through her insurance company and through Evercare, which has a program called Solutions for Caregivers. And even though the care manager was thousands of miles from Rocha’s Southern California home, the company was able to find help for Rocha in her own community. “They also found out what she was entitled to as part of her insurance,” says Sheehy. “Forty hours a year of home-care aides for her husband, her mother, and herself. Each of them was entitled to 40 hours a year of home-care aides, of whatever kind they needed, and they could use in whichever way they wanted. Felicitas could take a week’s vacation or they could spread it out over each week.”