A Caregiver Story

‘Mary’ is 62 years old and lives with her husband ‘Bill’ in Thornhill. She was diagnosed with stage four Lymphoma four months ago. Chemotherapy has left her feeling nauseous and weak. She and Bill have been told that the cancer has metastasized to her bones.

Mary and Bill have been happily married for almost 40 years. Bill wanted to take care of Mary himself, but because he was still employed, they had to pay a Personal Support Worker to help out while he is at work. When he came home, he took over her care, which covered evenings, overnights and weekends. He found himself burning out very quickly. He had absolutely no time to rest or unwind or to mourn the impending loss of his wife.

When asked what he would most like to do if he had some time to himself, he nervously responded that he would work out in his basement where he has an array of exercise equipment. He felt so guilty about admitting this when his wife was so ill.

Mary and Bill were matched up with a Hospice Volunteer willing to provide caregiver relief on weekends. We also advocated for increased support from Homecare (LHIN).

Bill is grateful for the help. He is enjoying the time he spends exercising, knowing he doesn’t have to worry about Mary. He reports that he’s also better able to enjoy his time with Mary because he does not feel so exhausted.

Many of Evergreen’s services focus on support for people who are caring for someone who has a life-threatening illness. Support groups for caregivers, telephone support, the Evergreen Living Room, complementary therapies and volunteer visiting for respite are among the services that can help.

Once a month, Evergreen offers a caregiver support group called “Circle of Care.” Call our office for details on how to get involved, or forward our contact information to someone who might need our services in the neighbourhood.