Stepping back from her career to care for her uncle - Gail and George's story

My Uncle George made a significant contribution to the City of Los Angeles. He was one of the civil engineers responsible for designing the city’s first sewage system. Our family will always remember his legacy and talents.

Eventually, Uncle George was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s—around age 86.

His disease progression became more obvious. Grooming habits declined and he needed help with basic chores, like laundry.

Then his conversations changed. He started talking in circles, like he was on a repetitious loop.

His wife passed away several years ago. The couple had no children of their own. Since he lived alone, there was no one to care for him. I could see he was very lonely.

After considerable thought, I stepped down from my full time career and moved in with my uncle so he could receive necessary care. Luckily I found a part-time position which gave me more flexibility in this new caregiving role. I also hired a helper to periodically watch my uncle so I could juggle my job and his care. The arrangement allowed my family to keep him out of a nursing home.

But as the Alzheimer’s advanced, I realized I needed even more help with my Uncle George. Eventually he lost control of bowel and urinary functions—in which I got a crash-coursed in incontinence care 101.

Eventually, I hired trained professionals in skilled nursing care—people who helped with his incontinence needs during my work schedule.

At some point I discovered Sage Products. The products helped us manage my uncle’s incontinence. My favorite product was Comfort Shield Barrier Cream Cloths.

I loved the Comfort Shield cloths—I think they should be part of everyone’s caregiving routine. The cloths from Sage are thicker than most. They’re tough—they don’t rip or leak when cleaning off someone’s bottom.

Dealing with incontinence isn’t an easy job, so it’s important to have the right supplies, especially those that help prevent the risks of infection. Otherwise, you have the constant worry about the cloth tearing and making a mess—which makes it tough to thoroughly clean someone and keep their skin intact, which could lead to infection.

Also, Comfort Shield Cloths aren’t overloaded with too much goop like the zinc oxide that diaper rash creams have, it goes on clear, so they’re easy to use and more comfortable for your loved one.

My uncle recently passed away in February 2015. He was 91. As his primary caregiver, it has been a life changing experience to care for him; one that’s helped me realize caregiving is my life’s calling. My future plans include pursuing a new career and starting my own business centered on caregiving.


No individuals or organizations were compensated by Sage or Stryker for contributing to this article.