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Grand Island woman raising awareness on the struggles of caregiving

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:54 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - November is National Caregiver’s Appreciation Month and people in the community were taking time to raise awareness for the battles these folks may be going through.

Grand Island woman, Marge Terman, was a caregiver to her husband, Burnie Terman, for several years after Burnie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and dementia. She remembered the hardest part of seeing her loved one go through such a mental transition.

“Seeing the change and the diminish in his personality and his communication skills, it was really tough to see,” Marge Terman said.

She continued to say, one of the biggest struggles she went through personally was not realizing that she was battling some health issues herself as she provided the 24/7 care to Burnie Terman.

“My family could see that my health was dwindling, I was losing some weight and I wasn’t eating properly and things that they could see that I couldn’t see and I think that’s very true of a lot of caregivers that they start losing their health,” she said.

It wasn’t until Burnie Terman told marge himself that maybe it was time to reach out for some extra help.

“The wonderful thing that happened, this wonderful Burnie woke up one morning and he said ‘Honey, I know there’s going to be a time when I won’t be able to stay home anymore,” Marge Terman said. “It’s just getting too much for you, that you’re going to need help,’ and that was the biggest gift that he could have possibly given me.”

After talking with her doctor on her concerns and getting confirmation that the help Burnie Terman needed was too much for her

To handle alone, Burnie Terman then moved into the assisted living facility County House Residence. Marge Terman said the staff at the facility had been nothing but helpful and were like family.

“The best part about Burnie is he always used humor, he never lost that until the very end,” said Brenda Wiltfong, senior living consultant at Country House. “So, he was always joking and trying to you know, have fun with you and so, that’s one thing that we really try to do at county house is, live in the moment.”

Wiltfong said she understood the struggles that caregivers, like Marge, could go through.

“Caregivers help can decline more rapidly than the person with dementia and so, that’s something that people need to be aware of,” she said.

Having years of experience, Marge offered up words of advice to other caregivers.

“Some of the best care we can give our loved one when it gets too much for us, the best care we can give them is letting someone else take care of their medical needs, their really care needs and then, we can relax a little bit more and we don’t have that pressure of having to take care of them,” Marge Terman admitted.

Burnie passed away from the disease this past summer, but Terman continued to help out others who were going through some of the same battles she had gone through helping out a loved one with dementia.

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