By Jackie Crosby
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several individuals share their experiences and challenges of becoming caregivers. They all share their best advice for keeping healthy while you care for loved ones.
Robin Schroeder loved her job as chief financial officer for the dairy company her great-grandfather founded in 1884.
But when her parents’ health began to deteriorate almost simultaneously about a decade ago, Schroeder found it impossible to manage the demands of a multimillion dollar business, a staff of 300 and aging parents.
In 2010 she left Schroeder Dairy and became a consultant. Her mother, Lorraine, had Alzheimer’s disease for 18 years; her father, Bill, had hereditary spastic paraplegia, a rare condition that affected the strength in his legs and arms, and meant he needed a wheelchair and other lifting equipment.
Schroeder moved a few doors down from her parents in Roseville with her husband and daughters, 22 and 25. Her parents died in 2017, about eight months apart.
Question: How did your life change when you became a caregiver?
A: Everything I did, I had to consider my parents. Even though I hired staff from Home Instead, I was connected all the time because so much was unpredictable. If I was traveling for work or wanted to go to my daughter’s graduation in Fargo, no matter what I did, I had to think about my parents first. Before I started taking care of them, they were my resource, and then I became their resource. When I went to visit my sister in Texas after she got married, I had to train my other sister and brother what to do here. I was on the phone half the time I was in Texas because they weren’t the main people, and they didn’t know what to do. So I might not be there physically full time, but I was always there.