Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

May 11, 2004 > The Challenge of Caregiving

The Challenge of Caregiving

by Sandy Bierman

Like most people, caregiving started early in life for me; a stray kitten that became a loved pet, various gold fish, turtles, baby birds fallen out of nests, neighbor's babies and later, my own babies. I had given part-time care to my ill parents but I never imagined that in my mid sixties, I would be the primary caregiver for my husband of 40 years. Tom had been blessed with a very healthy life but was diagnosed in 1998 with a rare neurological disease called Multiple System Atrophy for which there is no cure and a life expectancy of 7-9 years after the onset of symptoms. He has been totally bedridden the past two years and has dementia and hallucinations.

The City of Fremont Human Services Department and their warm and compassionate staff have been a Godsend for me. Feeling overwhelmed, I began attending the Caregiver Support Group and knew I had found new friends and a place that would lead me to other courses, seminars and sources of information provided by professionals sponsored by the City of Fremont. The help and information I have received has been invaluable and has made my journey of caregiving more bearable and given me hope for the future. If funding is cut for these wonderful and needed programs, the multitude of caregivers like me in the Tri City area will be left to face the enormous task of caring for our loved ones without the support we so desperately need.

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