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.”

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  • Anjeanette September 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Caregiving can be a very tough job. I’ve found that the best thing for the elderly is to have a medical alarm system. I wrote about how having a medical pendant has allowed my grandparents to remain independent. You can read my post here: http://www.seniorsafety.com/wordpress/index.php/2010/09/20/keeping-your-independence-with-medical-alert-systems/

  • Despr8Caregiver August 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    When my husband and I were long distance caregivers to my elderly father who lived in Florida at the time, we engaged the services of a Geriatric Care Manager who was a life saver. We relied on her to visit Dad regularly and report to us on his status. He was fine until one day he fell at home. He was able to make the decision to take the Care Managers recommendation of assisted living. She helped him move and notified us. We were arriving for a visit the next day, so were able to see him settled in his new home. The Care Manager was able to take a situation that could have been a nightmare and turn it into a success story.

    We blog about our experiences as caregivers at Inside Aging Parent Care.