I'd like to pursue setting-up a care-giver's support program...

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 10, 2016
S. lassiter asked...

I'd like to pursue setting-up a care-giver's support program at the retirement center that my great aunt lived in. She had no immediate family to care for her and was afraid to die alone. I spent many days and nights sitting with her to honor her request. While the facility was thoughtful and caring, there was no systematic effort or resources available to family members caring for critically ill patients that wanted/needed family to stay with them. What suggestions, guidelines, existing program models are available to assist in developing a proposal to submit to the facility for consideration? We have requested that in lieu of flowers family and friends consider donating to the facility in Aunt Mo's honor. I'm considering something as simple as purchasing a cot and arranging for sitter volunteers so the family can get a shower/nap to furnishing a dedicated room at the facility with her donated furnishings that can be a respite for the family member for a few hours. I look for to any and all input/suggestions.

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Caring for a dying loved one is difficult enough, without having to worry about where you are going to sleep. I recommend that you contact local hospice agencies. Some hospice teams have 'sitters' who stay with patients who are actively dying around the clocks for days, so family can be there when they can and leave when they must.

Hospice is paid for through either private insurance or Medicare. Most have a pro bono policy to care for people who are uninsured.

In addition to using hospice services, you might talk with hospices and ask how they handle a place to sleep for workers, or meal and shower arrangements.

You do not have to invent the wheel! Work with these programs that have been developed specifically to add comfort and peace to the dying, and spread the word to families that this is an available, desirable resource.

Community Answers

Lgood67334 answered...

Have you thought about setting up a Yahoo group for caregivers?

Would you be interested in meeting the other caregivers who are sharing their stories at Caregiver Village, www.caregivervillage.com? Check the site out, and I think you'll find lots of support from other caregivers and the book club hosts as well as many resources.

Lynn Host at Caregiver Village Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers Managing Editor of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com