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The Caregiver’s Voice Finalist Caregivers of the Month

Posted Nov 01 2012 10:05am

The Caregiver’s Voice recognizes two finalist Caregivers of the Month – Sonya Coleman and Dave Treibel in commemoration of National Family Caregivers Month and National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in the United States.

For the past three years, The Caregiver’s Voice has recognized a Caregiver of the Month. Meanwhile, finalist caregivers fall among the shadows. They deserve recognition too; such as Dave Treibel from Oregon in the U.S. and Sonya Coleman from Australia. Their nominations (below) inspire and give us strength to go on. For more information read TCV’s Caregiver of the Month Recognition Program .

Hi my name Steve and I would like to nominate my wife Sonya.
I am 43 and have Lewy Body’s Disease.
My wife is my full time carer.
We had only been married 6 months before I’d started to get sick a few years ago.
Memory Loss, Headaches, Terrible sleep, Parkinsonian symptoms, Dementia symptoms.
Sonya could have up and left as life was not what we had planned. But she said she would stand by me no matter what. At the moment my wife runs every aspect of the house.
She does the finances, cleans and runs the house and all that entails, looks after 2 kids, sorts out all my Doctors’ visits and medications.
She is on the go 24 hours a day.
At the moment my sleeping is terrible and she is up with me throughout the night. I don’t know how she does it all.
We never thought our lives would turn out like it did.

It isn’t often that we hear from the person being cared for (mostly because they can’t), and her husband told us firsthand of the kind of care he gets.  He doesn’t feel like a burden or “less-than” a real man.  She cares for him in a way that keeps his dignity intact.  She cares for him with her whole heart.    — Family Care Consultant

At 43 she pushes me around in the wheelchair, dresses and shower me , shaves me, drives me to all my appointments, doesn’t complain or make me feel stupid when I have an accident in the toileting area.
In all this and still being young she still makes me feel like a man.
She doesn’t make me feel like an invalid but like I am a man who deserves and gets respect and love.
A man who can make choices and is important.
I should be out earning a wage and supporting my family and spoiling my wife and yet she still makes me feel like the man in our relationship.
She is my wife and I love her dearly.
I know I couldn’t live without her.

If Sonya didn’t care for me like she does at 43 my only option would to be stuck in an aged care home.
She is my silent hero like all the other carers who constantly give of themselves selflessly.
I love her more than she knows.

Nominated by Sonya’s husband, Steve Coleman who lives with Lewy body dementia. [Unedited.]

Click on Nominate TCV’s Caregiver of the Month for easy guidelines.

About 16 months ago, my brother Dave became our mother’s caregiver 24/7 when she developed dementia. In addition to cooking all the meals, keeping housework up, bathing her, installing grip bars, taking her to doctor appointments and for walks, he has been an inspiration to all of us siblings for his patience and enduring spirit.

As Mom’s dementia has increased, so has her inability to express what is causing her pain. Her frustration and change in personality has made this an emotional struggle for both of them.

The anxiety my Mom goes through when Dave is gone from the house for even the shortest of times adds additional stress and guilt to him.

[Dave] has faced significant challenges in recent times, and has stepped up to handle even more in his mother’s moments of need. I hope he and the family are able to work through the financial issues they’re struggling with in caring for their mom, and think it’s wonderful that his sister and other siblings recognize the contributions he’s making, and help out to give him some respite…[Recognizing] him is another way to send a clear message to him that his gifts to his mother have not gone unnoticed and he’s not alone in this challenge. — Social media marketer focused on supporting caregivers

Years ago Mom drafted a will leaving our family home to Dave. However, we discovered that if she went into full time care before 2 years of his constant caregiving, the house would be claimed by Medicaid and he would have nothing.

Despite what he is going through, he is a wonderful caregiver and definitely qualifies for recognition. There are no words to describe how much I admire him. During the darkest weeks, he can still find the positive moments. These serve as a reminder to him that this act of love is definitely about the journey and not the destination.

He has two losses to deal with at the same time–not being able to find a job because of the economy and losing his mother a little bit more each day. Even though I am sure this feels like one of the darkest moments of his life, he still continues to care for his mother. He is unusual in that his task typically falls on a woman. He keeps his family involved by welcoming the help, and he gives his mother dignity by keeping her in her own home.   — Former caregiver for his father-in-law

Beyond deserving recognition for being my mom’s caregiver, my brother has already earned my award for strength of character.

Nominated by Dave’s sister, Patty Clark.

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