caring for an ailing spouse
Asking a caregiver to come into a home and provide personal care may seem like an intrusion but there are many stories from the San Gabriel Valley that show caregivers improve a family's quality of life.
More women than men are caregivers: an estimated 66% of [informal] caregivers are female, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.
The number of male caregivers is on the rise.
A spouse who gives care may need help simply to recharge and enjoy the precious moments
A husband in his 80s who was successful in his career was caring for his ailing wife. The demands crept up on him until he became tired and could barely care for himself. He was referred to New Wave Home Care of Pasadena but was hesitant to hire a stranger to step into the house and care for his wife. Yet he was risking his own well-being.
Caring for an ailing loved one takes such a toll that the spouse who is the caregiver risks being the first one to pass away. Studies vary widely. A fact sheet on caregiver stress from womenshealth.gov cites that up to 60 percent of caregivers die before the ones who are being cared for, while other figures like those through the Family Caregiver Allliance website cite about one-third.
The husband spoke with Sam Gopinathan, the founder of New Wave Home Care, and Sam pointed out to him that the work was so involved that he couldn’t be a husband; he was acting like a worker inside his own home. Sam suggested a caregiver to provide a few hours of respite care.
The husband did that and called Sam. He said the respite worked well and he decided he needed help throughout the day so he hired a caregiver from after breakfast until late afternoon.
A week later the husband called back. He was often awake through the night and the work was still taking a toll. He asked for 24 hour a day care and later told Sam the caregivers made it possible for him to be with his wife and simply enjoy her presence during the final chapter in her life.
getting help is not giving up: Part 2 of 3
A person who has worked hard to provide for a family, will have a tough time admitting it's no longer possible to care for a loved one. The adult children, often in their late 40s to early 60s, see the stress. Choosing a home care agency is not always easy.
For Sam Gopinathan, New Wave Home Care aligns both his professional skills as an executive with his desire to care for others. He discovered this trait during the 2004 Tsunami that destroyed lives and property in South Asia. Sam was in Kerala State where the killer waves took more than 3,000 lives and he volunteered to help surviving family members.
He harnessed this passion for caring when starting a home care agency that provides care from a few hours a day to 24 hours daily. Compassion is a trait he looks for in the caregivers that he and his staff hire.
"You can teach skills but you can't teach compassion," he said. "Our caregivers are well qualified when they come to us and we want to see that they also have a caring heart."
He encourages bonding between the client families and the caregiver. "If they don't bond then the client feels uncomfortable."
new wave's approach: Part 3 of 3
New Wave Home Care has about 50 staff who work throughout the San Gabriel Valley in cities like Pasadena, Arcadia, Temple City and Monterrey Park. The agency doesn't come in with a set agenda. The first step is doing a home assessment and listening to the needs of the client and the types of activities that will help the person remain involved in the surrounding community.
"The home assessment includes safety issues like looking for grab bars in the bathroom and looking for obstacles like floor rugs and light cords that may cause a person to trip and fall," said Sam. "Like we say, 'One fall can change it all.' I've seen perfectly healthy, robust people who took a fall and broke a bone and found themselves needing extended care."
The caregivers also help clients organize their prescription drug information so it's on one sheet of paper. This creates ease when speaking with physicians.
"One of our families may have three to four doctors and because of HIPPA regulations," said Sam, "the doctors can't speak directly with each other and know all of the medications prescribed. So we compile the list of prescriptions and present that sheet on visits."
New Wave Home Care is a strategic hire for families who want a loved one to stay at home and receive companionship, have housework done, and provide more advanced levels of care as necessary.
The company has grown on the strength of personal referrals from satisfied clients.
Call them directly at 626-765-6886 or read more on the New Wave sponsor page.
Caring is our Passion
Caring for an ailing loved one takes such a toll that the spouse who is the caregiver risks being the first one to pass away.
photo by Lon Casler Bixby
70% of working caregivers [family members] suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual caregiving roles.
Research shows an estimated 17-35% of family caregivers view their health as fair to poor.