Several months ago, a speech therapist named Tracy called the A Little Help office in search of help. She and her husband Ben are in their late forties and Ben has recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. He was a successful accountant who is now no longer able to work and has a difficult time parenting their two young children. Tracy now feels like she is moonlighting as the full-time caregiver for her husband while managing her practice. She has also become, almost suddenly, a single parent. When Tracy called, she was at her wit’s end.
After initially meeting with Tracy and Ben, we were able to connect them with Susie and Jacob, a couple who has been going through a similar situation for the past ten years through our Care Share caregiver respite program. Care Share is an A Little Help program that creates a space where people in any stage of caregiving can share their stories while providing a coordinating service for willing neighbors in the community to share the care. Tracy and Susie were able to share stories, and Tracy learned of different support sources Susie has been using to alleviate some of the pressure of caregiving. Tracy and Susie became fast friends and chat on a regular basis. A Little Help was also able to put Ben to work as a volunteer. Ben walks to seniors’ homes when it snows to shovel their sidewalks. In the fall, he is one of our best rakers. On our big Service Saturdays!, Ben is able to work with Tracy and their kids on a team of volunteers raking and doing other yard work. It was great for the kids and Tracy to see Ben thriving and great for Ben to experience sharing the fulfillment of a job well done with his family. We also provide A Little Help for Tracy by coordinating one of our other volunteers accompany Ben to the grocery store to do the family shopping. Ben knows he is pitching in and Tracy has one less task to complete that week.