Matsonia (59 years) is married and has one child from a previous marriage. She is the caregiver for her husband (76 years) who did not have children. She worked in hairstyling and as a manager of her husband’s yacht club, but retired 12 years ago. When Matsonia met her husband 12 years ago, he had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Her caregiving started with giving him his medication, and now she is providing 24/7 care. She just recently started receiving help with this. Her husband goes twice a week to a care centre and receives four hours of home care weekly.
Matsonia met her husband on a blind date 12 years ago. They went to a restaurant and she just noticed that there was something wrong with him, so after they spent a really nice time, she got the guts to ask him if he had Parkinson’s. Shortly after, she moved in with him, as she knew he was the one for her. After that first day she says that she never saw the illness again but only the husband she loves so much. Her husband now needs 24/7 care and cannot be left alone due to his developing dementia. She recently noticed how the caregiving activities have increased her stress and she is trying to deal with this.
In the beginning of their relationship she noticed that her partner was not medicating himself properly, and her caregiver’s role started with helping him with this. She tried to find ways to regulate, and not forget, his medication.
Through the years she has learned to find solutions to certain problems that you face as a caregiver. For instance, she explains how the use of a pill timer with an alarm has changed her life; how she tries to detect bladder infections as early as possible by using detection strips, and how she has found solutions to the personal care issues for her husband, such as showering and diaper use.
Her husband has scheduled activities outside their home twice a week. This gives her just enough time to do all the necessary activities related to caregiving, but doesn’t leave any time for herself. The homecare staff change-over time makes it harder for her to make plans, as she often needs to stay around to give instructions to the carer. She appreciates the respite program for veterans that is designed to help the caregiver keep the care recipient at home longer.
Because of her husband’s state, she prefers to have friends over in the early afternoon so that they are able to see him at his best. She feels that not everybody understands her approach and that some people have felt unwelcome to stay longer. Matsonia feels that his friends and family resent her and think that she keeps her husband locked in the closet. Matsonia feels that they don’t bother getting to know her well.
Due to her husband’s behaviour, she went through a long and difficult eight-year journey before finding out that the medication he had been taking was causing hyper sexuality. She describes how this has had financial and relational consequences. His hypersexuality decreased immediately once he stopped taking these medications. Life is peaceful now and Matsonia is enjoying getting to know her real husband.