Melissa was the secondary caregiver for her father, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is now the primary caregiver for her husband, who suffers from chronic pain. With her father, Melissa realized right away she was a caregiver as he was on a ventilator, needed a feeding tube, and required many hours of care. For her husband, her role as a caregiver was a more gradual realization. Melissa’s father lived three hours from her, so when she was caring for him, she was not around for her husband, and sometimes, it was hard not to feel as if she was neglecting one of them for the other. However, Melissa enjoyed supporting her mother in caregiving for her father because they both understood how the other was feeling.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for Melissa to care for her husband because non- medical treatment was harder to come by. Melissa’s hours at work also increased, intensifying her need for services and supports. Living in a rural area, supports were already hard to come by under normal circumstances. Melissa feels something helpful to caregivers in rural areas would be bringing care to people rather than making them travel to receive care.
Melissa feels that making caregivers aware of the supports they are eligible for and where they can access them, would make their job easier, as well as putting caregiver resources in one location to reference. Telehealth appointments have been very helpful for both Melissa and her husband, and Melissa is hopeful that they will continue beyond the pandemic.