Helping caregivers help themselves

Photo Credit: WDAM
Photo Credit: WDAM
Photo Credit: WDAM
Photo Credit: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS - When Cindy Rawls' 89-year-old father moved in with her, little did she know the road in front of her.

"His friends started passing away and so he was becoming depressed and I said 'Dad come stay with me,'" said Rawls.

That was two years ago, and up until this year he was able to take care of himself. However, he hit a rapid decline in health this past spring. That's when Cindy became his primary caregiver, with no time to rest.

"So that's when the defining moment came. I have to work, I cannot take care of you if I'm not healthy. I work 40 hours. I don't sleep at night because I'm getting up, just like with a child," said Rawls.

Like so many other working caregivers, Cindy found herself in a never ending cycle.

"It is taxing mentally and emotionally," said Rawls. 
After work it was straight to the kitchen, tending to her father's every need, with no complaints.

"You try to squeeze in mopping the floors, vacuuming, laundry during the night while your still doing everything else," said Rawls.

It's a scenario Anna Edenfield with Home Instead says is a far too often occurrence, especially with the baby boomer generation.

"Most of the time they're holding down a job, especially women, working women caregivers. They're actually holding down a job and taking care of their aging parents," said Edenfield.

To help, Home Instead launched a website called "Daughters in the Workplace," where caregivers like Cindy can find help.

"It empowers and educates them that there are options out there and ideas and tips on how to help them at this place in their life," said Edenfield.

From home care to end of life planning, it's a one stop shop for folks who are struggling and feel alone. 
"There's tips on how to take care of yourself. That's so important because if your health as a caregiver is going, you can't help your parent, you can help anybody," Edenfield.

Cindy says the help Home Instead has provided her, has made all the difference.