“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”
― Tia Walker, from The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love
More than 43 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult or child, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Sixty percent of these caregivers are female, 34 percent have full-time jobs, 32 percent provide at least 21 hours of care a week, and 38 percent report high emotional stress from the demands of caregiving. And although the statistics are compelling, they tell only part of the story. Dana Moore, who cared for her husband, Jim, during the final months of his life, experienced these challenges firsthand.
Dana found help at Solvay Hospice House in Duluth, MN. In addition to compassionate end-of-life care, the facility also provides quality respite care that can ease caregivers’ minds and provide them with a much-needed break from day-to-day demands. Jim had an advanced directive that stated he wanted to die at home, but Dana recognized an opportunity in Solvay. “What rang out for me was the fact that we could have Solvay here in our backyard and use it as respite care,” she says.
Placing a loved one’s care in the hands of someone else – even for a short amount of time – is a decision fraught with strong mixed emotions. For Dana, visiting Solvay before Jim’s stay provided her with peace of mind. She saw the private room that would be his, visited with the staff and stocked the family kitchen with the foods Jim loved. “The idea that, as a care giver and as a family, we could have this respite care, that we could come to Solvay for five days in a row and know that Jim was incredibly well taken care of, was everything,” she says.
Dana recently shared her experience with the Miller-Dwan Foundation in honor of Solvay’s 10-year anniversary. You can hear her story here.