January 2017, Toronto – “My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia and she has physical disabilities with bursitis and sciatica,” says Todd Martin who became a full-time caregiver for his mom. “I work 24/7.”
Every day Todd listens to hear if his mom is breathing normally, watching to make sure she doesn’t have an accident or whether she needs to go to the bathroom. This has been part of his daily routine for the last few years since his mom was diagnosed at age 83. But this role has pushed him to the edge several times.
“It’s like raising a child in reverse, there’s no progression it just gets worse and worse and worse,” says Todd.
At times, he’s needed to call a crisis line at the Community Care Access Center to deal with the stress. “They basically talk you down, calm you down and give you coping strategies,” says Todd.
His mom, Shirley Martin, says she’s happy living in her own house and so Todd keeps caring for her so she can stay at home.
CARP is working to change the lives of caregivers, including advocating for a federal caregiver tax rebate, creating support for caregivers and an allowance for those providing extraordinary care.
To find out how you can help CARP’s Caring for Caregivers campaign, visit http://www.carp.ca/campaign/support-for-caregivers/