Help Wanted: Loving Care for Special Patient

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences November 19, 2012
November is National Family Caregiver Month, which provides an opportunity to recognize the millions of Americans who provide care to loved ones who are chronically ill or incapacitated. Unpaid family caregivers represent 90 percent of the long-term care provided in the United States.  The following is a blog written from the perspective of Jean Anderson, who serves as a caregiver for her husband Richard, who has Parkinson’s disease.

Help Wanted

Looking for a Challenge?
  • Need mature, responsible individual to care for gentleman with chronic health condition
  • Must perform as patient advocate, nurse, nurse’s aide, counselor, social planner and activity director, financial manager, driver, scheduler, exercise coach
  • Position requires experience setting up and giving medications, cooking, housekeeping and doing laundry
  • Prefer licensed driver who is also willing to do yard work and light maintenance chores
Hours
  • Round-the-clock, 7 days per week
Compensation
  • Room and board
  • Satisfaction for a job well done
  • Hugs (optional)
  • Sorry, no salary or benefits package available at this time
Job Classification
  • Caregiver
  • Parkinson Disease: Caring and Coping
  • National Parkinson Foundation 2007
  • Updated by D. Breslow 2010

Even in a tough job market,  I’m not sure you’ll get many applicants, other than Mother Theresa. An irony is that those who land this job are not applicants but conscripts, caring for a family member with a chronic, progressively debilitating disease. Forty-four million people in the United States, one in four households, are caring for someone over the age of 50. Additional statistics reveal that one third of caregivers are 65 and older; 80 percent care for patients in long-term home care; 40 percent are still raising children, and half still hold jobs; and 75 percent of caregivers are women.

As the “Help Wanted” ad indicates, the job is demanding and consuming. A free, monthly support group offered at Northwestern Memorial Hospital encourages caregivers for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) to determine how to maintain meaningful activities that bring renewal and endurance to accept what one didn’t expect.  The PD support group also provides excellent opportunities for social interchange among PD patients, exercise, art therapies, and education on leading research in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s.

You may also contact Diane Breslow, leader of the support group, at  312.503.4397.

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