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Caregiver Stories – Words of Wisdom from People Who’ve Been There

This month we're celebrating family caregivers. Millions of people worldwide work round the clock to care for loved ones, often at significant personal cost and with very little preparation.

Life Effects is our patient and caregiver support program. We host tips, advice, and accounts from seasoned caregivers who want to help others who find themselves in the same situation.

Today, we'd like to share some of our contributor's stories below.

Coming to Terms with Chronic Illness as a Family

“Chronic illness doesn't just impact a single person – it affects the entire family. Communication is one of the first things to change. All families struggle to communicate effectively at times. The additional layer of stress from chronic illness can make it difficult for everyone to verbalize their feelings.”

Laura McKee, Life Effects contributor, parent, and chronic illness patient

Read how Laura and her family learned to communicate their feelings and needs: Coming to Terms with Chronic Illness as a Family (Tevapharm.com)

When Someone You Love Forgets Your Name

“I remember the first time Mom looked at me with that blankness in her eyes – as though her soul had been wiped away. I almost called out to her as if I could bring her back to me somehow. It was unfathomable that someone I knew so well was becoming a stranger to me, and me to her. The cruelty to both of us was unmeasurable.”

Susanne White, Life Effects contributor and former caregiver for her parents.

Read how Susanne coped with her mother’s dementia here: When Someone You Love Forgets Your Name (tevapharm.com)

Caregiving and Friendships – a Lonely Love

“As Dad’s dependence on me grows, my life as I know it changes. Inevitably and irrevocably, I am no longer the same person who began this journey two years ago. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have grown emotionally in some respects. My sense of humor has sharpened, my patience has increased exponentially, and my cooking has improved beyond all recognition...”

– Teena Gates, Life Effects contributor and caregiver for her dad.

Read Teena’s story here: Caregiving and Friendships: A Lonely Love (tevapharm.com)

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver

“Being a parent is easy. It’s like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire, and you’re on fire, and everything around you is on fire, and you sometimes feel like you're in hell.

As the parent of a 12-year-old girl, this rings true much of the time. Take that, then add the role of being a caregiver to your partner, and words can’t adequately describe the kind of hell you might find yourself in. Don’t get me wrong, both parenting and caregiving can be greatly rewarding. Especially if you can overcome the one major limitation caregivers face: not having enough time.”

  • Marc Lawrence, Life Effects contributor, parent, and caregiver for his wife.

Read Marc’s story here: A Day in the Life of a Caregiver (tevapharm.com)

If you feel lost and need help, please don't be afraid to reach out and ask. Remember, you have to look after yourself first, or you won’t be able to look after others. Here are some caregiving helplines to help you through your journey:

Please note, this content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen​.

NOV 2022 NPS-ALL-NP-00723

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