In 2006, my mother, a retired social worker, and I started Apple Care and Companion, a caregiving agency in Dallas that provides daily care and companionship. About 18 months after we started the business, I learned first-hand what it’s like to be a caregiver for a loved one. It’s hard. It’s emotional. It’s okay to need help.
At first, I didn’t even realize I was Mom’s caregiver because she was so independent. I quickly learned that you are a caregiver if you are the one who will be called in the middle of the night in a crisis! My mom has since passed, but we were always close. In the midst of caring for her, our relationship became even stronger. Our unspoken love and respect for each other was deafening.
The majority of the time I was caring for my mother, we were in crisis mode due to her precarious health condition. For me, just hearing the phone ring would set me in panic mode, fearing it was the hospital calling with bad news. The most rewarding thing about being a caregiver was being able to help someone and immediately make a difference in their life.
Advice I would give other caregivers is 1) to remember that being a caregiver won’t last forever and 2) It’s always okay to ask others for help because It takes a village to care for older family.
You get back more than you give. Caregiving helps you become a great advocate for others.
Contributed by Laurie Miller, Co-founder, Apple Care and Companion and The Purpose Project
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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