Three Generations Caring for One Another Through Alzheimer’s and COVID

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Roger never expected his daughter would one day become his caregiver, but then again, this former blackbelt and martial arts teacher never thought he’d need one. That was his job.

He’s been the caregiver for family members over the years, and when his mom, Lena, 82, needed him because of her advancing Alzheimer’s disease, he moved into her Brownsburg home to help. She also receives meals, attendant care services and more through CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions.

Caregiving for grandma and dad

Roger’s daughter Raisha, 34, was working as a health aide in Memphis, but she worried about her grandma. The single mom of four moved back home to Indiana last fall, landed a job with a home healthcare agency, and now is her grandma’s paid caregiver.

Today about one in four family caregivers is a Millennial, and Raisha is part of the generation that is finding employment caring for a family member.

It’s lucky Raisha moved back when she did. Earlier this year, Roger fell face-first on the floor, right in front of his daughter. Raisha knew the signs of a stroke and called for help. Had she not been there? Well, they don’t want to think about what might have happened.

2020 brings new caregiving challenges

The year 2020 has not been kind to the family. Following the first stroke, Roger had a second one and then developed heart complications resulting in surgery. Not long after, he got COVID-19.

“It was COVID that nearly took me out,” Roger said.

After he was diagnosed, Roger was advised to rest at home, but Raisha insisted he needed medical care. She took him to Hendricks Regional Hospital, where he was admitted and placed on a ventilator for several days. He survived and returned home under Raisha’s watchful eye.

“She’s like the adult around here most of the time,” her father jokes.

Raisha made sure her dad was quarantined in a separate room so her grandma and children didn’t contract COVID, too. A natural caretaker, Raisha has strict rules.

Lena has also had a difficult time. Recently she was diagnosed with colon cancer and is now on palliative care through St. Vincent. It’s been an additional challenge for the family.

Roger says he thanks God every day that Raisha is by his side and that CICOA is providing help for his mom and family.

It’s not easy, Raisha says. “Grandma tells me, ‘I’m glad you went to school.’ She knows I am her nurse, but I’m always her granddaughter,” Raisha said. “I’m trying to make her as comfortable as I can as long as I can.”

Are you a Millennial caring for family? CICOA is a local nonprofit that offers guidance to help you make informed choices about long-term care needs and coaching to support your caregiving journey.

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