Submitted by LivWell Seniors
Rhonda Halterman, founder of LivWell Seniors, has a special interest in not only helping individuals and their families navigate their care journey, but also has personal experience in caregiving — her mother and mother-in-law are caregivers to loved ones. With their strong examples, she has been able to have wonderful role models regarding caregiving, as well as first-hand personal experience navigating through what can be an extremely stressful as well as a very rewarding experience. This was only the beginning of Rhonda’s passion to start LivWell Seniors and, with her team, be able to reach and help countless families out there find the resources that they needed to help with whatever caregiving stage they were at.
We navigate through the stages of our adult life — from getting out of high school, going to college, or getting a job, maybe even that dream job that we have worked so hard towards. Then comes marriage, followed by a bouncing baby boy and a sweet baby girl who we pour our free time and love into. It can be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time — running them to activities, attending sporting events and dance recitals. We catch ourselves coming and going with the busy, fulfilling, and blissful dream life that we are living. Does this sound familiar?
As time goes by, and it goes by fast, our parents and other loved ones are aging, and may begin to need more of our help, more of our time and resources. We are then torn between trying to keep up with our lives as parents to our growing children and employers who are counting on us to be at work and complete our jobs. We need our jobs to pay for our living expenses, to save for our children’s future, to plan, and to be able to fund our own retirement. Unfortunately, we do not have a crystal ball and cannot foresee what may be a sudden onset, or gradual onset of an illness or injury in our aging loved one’s life, which results in us becoming caregivers — maybe without any warning.
As a company that works with countless families each year, LivWell Seniors encounters this often. We serve families free of charge and help them navigate through their care journey, whether it be needing home health services, assisted living, independent living, nursing home care, or elder law services; the list goes on and on. One of the biggest things that we encounter by the time we are sought out is that one or two family members have usually taken on the role of caregiver and may be still living lives in their working years with young children. How do they continue to maintain their lives while carrying the load of being a caregiver?
Caregivers can be present in many ways and scenarios. They can be just entering their long-awaited retirement years, such as Raquel, who just entered retirement and came from a family of five siblings. Her father who lived in a care facility with Alzheimer’s and her elderly mother who had had multiple health problems lived with her sister who was her caregiver. Raquel’s sister passed away suddenly, and due to two of her sisters still working full-time, and the third sister already being a caregiver to her adult son who had Down’s Syndrome, Raquel became her mom’s fulltime caregiver by default. Raquel went from working to immediately retiring and becoming a caregiver, which she did not plan for, but there were no other options. The emotional support that Raquel continues to receive from her sisters is a great help to her as she takes on the primary caregiving role.
Linda, who is another example, had a different scenario in her journey to becoming a caregiver. Linda was a caregiver to her mother for many years, along with her sister and two brothers. Linda’s brother was disabled and lived with their mother, and they were caregivers to each other until the mother developed dementia which required the help of home health and hospice as well as her children. She went on to pass away in her home, surrounded by family. This then led Linda and her other brother to become the full-time caregivers to their brother who had to move to an independent senior apartment. The facility took care of watching over him, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, medication management, and financials. Linda’s brother then ended up having open heart surgery in May of this year, which resulted in her eventually having to move him to an assisted living.
John and Joan, who are a married couple, work full time, have an eight-year-old daughter, and lived 60 miles away from his mother. They found themselves in the situation of trying to be caregivers. John’s mother became hospitalized, could not go back home. They were initially forced to travel to the hospital every day, and one had to be home for the eight-year-old after school. Joan, who is an office manager, missed countless hours of productive work time trying to navigate and coordinate the care for her mother-in-law while dealing with continued absences at work as well. John and Joan found LivWell Seniors, which were able to come in, find them options, tour with them, coordinate the financial planning for them, and basically take the burden of all the phone calls and coordination from them so that they could continue to work and be home for their young daughter. John’s mother soon entered an assisted living in the town that they lived in, eliminating the driving distance and increasing their ability assist with her needs.
These are just a few examples of how accident or injury can affect the daily lives of individuals and families. We at LivWell Seniors have seen countless scenarios and countless tears of helplessness from caregivers who don’t know where to turn for help, are overwhelmed, or don’t have the resources to afford care for their loved ones. Some must quit jobs that may be needed to contribute to the household bills and to make ends meet. Others miss countless hours of work, must go part-time, or use up vacation and sick days, resulting in not being able to use them for leisure or vacations. One parent may have to miss out on special events for their spouse or children because their loved one cannot be left alone.
This is what we do for our loved ones, and the need can happen at any phase of our lives, as illustrated in the above scenarios. LivWell Seniors wants to be the folks that caregivers call so that we can help take the burden off you as much as possible and save you some steps in searching to meet your needs. It may not even be easy for one to make a phone call when you are a caregiver, whether it be due to caregiving without relief, or to working and being unable to make calls during business hours. LivWell Seniors will cover those steps for you, and report back and assist you as individuals and caregivers on your time schedule. We want to be a resource to ease your stress and allow you to be your best that you can be, for not only the loved one that you are caring for, but for yourself as well.
LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community-based resources that are 100% free to seniors and their families. They are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at 563-265-1577, or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com.