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Car­ing for the Care­givers: One Cou­ple’s Story

Car­ing for a loved one is incred­i­bly reward­ing work, but it can also be quite a chal­lenge. Ken­neth Young Cen­ter rec­og­nizes the impor­tance of our fam­i­ly and cho­sen care­givers, and is proud to offer resources so that no care­giv­er has to feel alone. We’re hon­ored to share how our care­giv­er sup­ports and old­er adult pro­gram­ming have helped one cou­ple, Frank and Lau­ra, remain inde­pen­dent and safe through­out the pandemic.

Car­ing for Frank as He Cares for Laura

Sev­en­ty-three-year-olds, Frank and Lau­ra are child­hood sweet­hearts. They nev­er had chil­dren, so when Laura’s health start­ed to change after 50-some­thing years of mar­riage, Frank knew he’d need some help to keep her cared for and safe for as long as he could so they could remain togeth­er. When he called Ken­neth Young Cen­ter, he was quick to tell his care coor­di­na­tor that they were inde­pen­dent, but that also meant a bit alone.

Through­out the pan­dem­ic, Frank has had to be Laura’s sole care­tak­er, with­out out­side assis­tance or com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ties to attend as they stayed home to stay safe. Laura’s mem­o­ry impair­ments have con­tin­ued to slow­ly get worse, mean­ing Frank is always on call”. When he show­ers, he has to lis­ten to make sure Lau­ra doesn’t try to leave the house or isn’t call­ing for help. He makes all their meals, cleans the house, and man­ages all their finances. There are no breaks or time to recharge. Care­giv­ing for a loved one who has a mem­o­ry impart­ment is a chal­lenge at any time, but now being the sole care­giv­er dur­ing a pan­dem­ic height­ens those stressors. 

Older couple hands

But to Frank, this is what he does for Lau­ra, the woman he’s spent a life­time lov­ing. When Lau­ra doesn’t rec­og­nize him or asks him to leave before her hus­band comes home, there’s no time or space to react. He lov­ing­ly looks for strate­gies and rou­tines he can put in place to reas­sure her, to keep her calm, and to help Lau­ra feel his love even if she doesn’t remem­ber him moments lat­er. For this sup­port, he turns to KYC’s Care­giv­er Spe­cial­ist, Daxa. For two years, Frank and Lau­ra have attend­ed KYC’s Mem­o­ry Café, both in per­son and then vir­tu­al­ly, and par­tic­i­pate in our Care­giv­er Resource Cen­ter pro­grams. Meet­ing oth­er care­givers and shar­ing his expe­ri­ence with Daxa, a trained social work­er, Frank has new tools to sup­port Lau­ra, while also tak­ing care of himself.

This month, Frank called Daxa and said that the best way to sup­port Lau­ra is to bring in addi­tion­al help. Strug­gling with the idea of allow­ing any­one in their home and risk­ing COVID-19 expo­sure, Frank, Daxa, and a respite provider out­lined all the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions they would take togeth­er to pre­vent the spread of germs, while offer­ing the cou­ple the sup­port they need. While the respite work­er social­izes with Lau­ra and helps around the house, Frank can rest, show­er, and hopes to plant flow­ers this spring so he can bring them inside to his love, Laura.

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Sup­port­ing Care­givers and Old­er Adults Together

KYC 50 Logos 50 GLD BRST

We are proud to celebrate Older Americans Month and the work we can do together for older adults as part of our #KYC50For50 campaign of sharing 50 stories in honor of our 50th anniversary.

More than 8,000 old­er adults find the resources they need to live well — phys­i­cal­ly, men­tal­ly, and emo­tion­al­ly — through Ken­neth Young Cen­ter (KYC) each year. Thanks to our sup­port­ers, vol­un­teers, and car­ing staff, we’re hon­ored to pro­vide the per­son­al­ized solu­tions that help each of the old­er adults we serve to live their best lives. If you would like to show your sup­port for KYC’s old­er adult pro­grams, includ­ing our care­giv­er sup­port ser­vices, you can make a gift today or join us for our Hus­tle for Health 5K Run/​Walk. How­ev­er you sup­port KYC, we’re grate­ful to con­tin­ue this work with your partnership.

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of chil­dren in the U.S. strug­gle with seri­ous chal­lenges to their emo­tion­al and men­tal health.

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