When Family Caregivers Have to Make Tough Choices

Family caregivers should be open to support and resources when making tough choices

By Sandy Mau

In many ways, Suzanne Mintz fits the profile of the lion’s share of the nation’s 50 million-plus family caregivers. She is a woman, employed, and cares for her loved one at home. Her resources are stretched: time, money, emotions, and strength.

But Mintz, president and co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), can quickly tell you that trying to pinpoint an “average” family caregiver is a futile exercise. Each brings a unique outlook to the task, and a different mix of support and resources. Those who successfully move through the daily challenges seek help when things get tough.

“Unlike when someone dies, the grief family caregivers suffer goes on and on,” says Mintz, whose husband has been in a wheelchair for more than 15 years with multiple sclerosis. “Each time there is a worsening in health one grieves anew. Life gets harder and it is sad to watch a loved one decline.”

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