Quad Cities, IL/IA

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The Caregiver A Hero Without a Costume


By Shannon Swanson, Good Samaritan Society – Services@Home

I believe I am one of a few fortunate to say that I had meaningful relationships with each one of my four grandparents well into my 20s. With that blessing was the realization of everything it takes to be a caregiver. I watched both my parents, though situations drastically different, care for their parents right up to their time of death.

My mother, being the baby of seven children, had three sisters and their husbands that worked together to provide her parents with all the help they needed. Whether it was assistance with finances, help with running errands, or late night phone calls when one of them ended up on the floor from an accidental fall; the situations were endless. I’m sure at times my mom and all three of her sisters thought they were full-time caregivers while juggling their actual careers and their family lives as well, but they had each other to work with to meet the needs of my grandparents. It was because of that constant caring my grandfather was able to spend his last days at home with his family, and my grandmother was able to spend her last years living with one of my aunts and traveling to her other daughters’ homes on the weekends as she pleased.

My father’s story of being a caregiver was a little different. My father was the surviving child of three kids. He didn’t have the siblings to assist him with the late night phone calls, the trips to the hospital, and help with finances. He relied on what availability his wife and kids had to assist in whatever way they could, all while juggling his career, and family life. Due to various health issues, his parents were in and out of multiple hospital stays, assisted living facilities, within a two and a half year period; he was by their side helping with every process. Because of the relentless care and tough decisions my father made for the health and well-being of his parents, they were able to stay in their home as long as possible and then spent the remainder of their years in the top long-term care facilities the Quad Cities have to offer.

Even though both of my parents were able to lean on an in-home care service to help with some of the responsibility, their job was never ending. It’s referred to as being part of the “sandwich generation.” It’s a job no one technically signs up for but most are willingly to accept. No job title is quite like another.

In honor of National Caregiver’s Month, Services@Home recognizes all of you who are currently dealing or have dealt with the trials of being a caregiver. In my opinion, it is one of the most emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging jobs that anyone could take on. You are a hero in your own right, stronger than you know, and your family is blessed to have you.

Good Samaritan Society – Services@Home provides cares such as housekeeping, medication reminders, preparing meals, grocery shopping, and assisting with other cares to assist people to remain independent at home. To learn more about Good Samaritan Society – Services@Home, please call 563-359-4444 or visit our website at www.good-sam.com/quadcityhome.

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