Family Caregiving Requires A Village

By Suzanne Mintz

One of NFCA’s core messages for family caregivers is, “Reach Out for Help,” because caregiving is more than a one person job. Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village,” referring to the rearing of children. Well, it takes a village to care for someone with a chronic condition as well.

Your circumstances may not be like mine and so the specifics of my story may not relate to your day-to-day life, but I know that you’ve had, or will have, situations in which a “village” would be the answer to your problems, too.

I should have known there was trouble ahead when 10 minutes before a taxi was to arrive to take me to the airport (I was going to Chicago for a conference) my husband, Steven, and I both fell as we were transferring him from his manual wheelchair to his electric one. Steven has MS and has been in a wheelchair for more than a dozen years now. Transferring was nothing new to us. We do it at least four times a day.

Neither one of us was hurt, but we were left with the problem of how to get him up and in his power chair and me ready when the taxi arrived. After trying several neighbors who weren’t home, I finally reached Peter*, who lives one street over. He came over right away and between the two of us we were able to get Steven safely and comfortably situated for the day. The taxi arrived, graciously waited for me, and got me to the airport on time. Crisis solved. Or so I thought.

Read more at the National Family Caregiver Association website.

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