Parkinson's Awareness Month - Meet Gary

Jessie Ary

Written by Jessie Ary on Wed Apr 27 2022.

Parkinson's Awareness Month - Meet Gary

Meet Gary H., a caregiver hero who selflessly cares for his elderly parents in every way he can.  His commitment to providing the best quality of life for his parents is an inspiring service of love and gratitude.  Learn more about Gary’s journey below:

Meet Caregiver Hero, Gary:

“I am the caregiver for my parents who are 85 and 84 years old. My father lives with Parkinson's Disease and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and my mom lives with COPD, CHF, A-FIB and Alzheimer's Disease. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and they live in O'Fallon, Missouri. I am unable to move to Missouri because of my job, and both of their social support networks and healthcare providers are in their area so I don't want to move them to Michigan.  I put a tremendous amount of time and energy into working with both of my parents to make sure they have all of their physical, social, spiritual, psychological, and emotional needs met. I do this by traveling back and forth from Michigan to Missouri to care for them, and I also do it using a person-centered philosophy so that I center my efforts on their needs and desires and not mine. I have a brother who is not engaged at all in their caregiving and a sister who lives in California and has several chronic health issues, so I am the sole caretaker. I feel that my parents were amazing parents and made me the strong and confident man that I am today, so I want to give them all of the thanks and praise that I can by making their latter years special and comfortable. I also make arrangements for them to spend time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren through Zoom calls and special holiday events. This has been challenging during COVID, as they live in an independent living apartment in a senior living community.

I am also a strong medical advocate for them and go to every visit they have with a healthcare provider and plan my trips to Missouri to coincide with their appointments. I ask questions of their providers and review each visit with them to assure they understand everything their providers are telling them. I also keep in close contact with all of their healthcare providers via online portals, and text with the home health care providers that visit weekly.

Financially, my parents do not have much money, so I pay for the vast majority of their medical bills, household goods and supplies, credit cards, food, and other expenses. This is why I was so grateful to find Carewell since their prices are so reasonable, and they come to my parents very quickly. It has been a huge blessing to order products from Carewell given the friendliness of the staff members, the reasonable prices, the speed of delivery, and the high quality of the products.

Finally, my parents eloped when they were 18 and 19 years old, and my dad went off to the Air Force the day after and my mom remained in her home. They were both from low-income families and never had the opportunity to have a wedding. My parents are now 84 and 85 years old, and in July it will be their 65th wedding anniversary. I am planning a wedding ceremony for them since they never had an official wedding, and I am hopeful that COVID will be under control enough to have all of our family and friends in attendance. I plan to use the funds from this award to host the wedding ceremony and celebration in July 2022. I want to do this because they sacrificed so much to raise me and my brother and sister, and I want them to have the joy and beauty of a wedding that they never could afford. I greatly appreciate your mission to "...make caregivers' lives easier by providing the products and support they need with a level of service and convenience rarely found in at-home healthcare." When I found your website through a random Google search for a specific type of Depend for my dad, I read about the organization and philosophy and felt at ease knowing that there were others out there willing to help people like me who were struggling with the multiple burdens of being a caretaker. I read Bianca's story and could relate to the feeling of not knowing what products were available and where to get them. In 2018 I worked with my parents to sell their home of nearly 40 years and move them into a two bedroom apartment in the independent living section of a Senior Living Community, and this was a monumental task both emotionally and physically. Their health was declining and my father could not walk without assistance and could no longer make it up and down the stairs in their home. As both of their health continued to decline, I had to teach myself about everything that Bianca talked about in her journey helping her mother and grandmother. I wish that I would have found Carewell during these early days of my caregiving journey, as it would have saved me a lot of distress and worry. Over time, I have learned a great deal and have also been creative and innovative with ways to make my parents' lives easier, and Carewell has helped a great deal with this ever changing process. It's nice to know that there is a company out there that is not just about making money, but about making people's lives easier and more comfortable. As caregivers, we often can feel isolated, exhausted, stressed, anxious, depressed and confused about what we can do to help those we love. Knowing that there are others in my position is very helpful, and to be able to access the staff and consultants at Carewell is a refreshing relief.

This is my first time sharing my story of caregiving. I have been doing the very best that I can, and giving love and compassion to my parents 24/7. I want to thank you for the opportunity to sit down and reflect on my role as a caregiver and to share it with others. Even if I am not selected, I am grateful for this opportunity and hope that I can share what I have learned with others, so that they know that they are not alone as caregivers, and there are great companies like Carewell out there to lend a helping hand. Thank you!”

If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s, please view our collection of items curated for their health and comfort.

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Jessie Ary
Jessie Ary

Jessie Ary is Carewell's Content Coordinator. When Jessie isn't writing for Carewell, she spends her time attempting to climb rocks and traveling throughout the country with her cat, Carrot.