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Taking Care of Caregivers: Jaclyn

Last fall, Muscular Dystrophy Canada welcomed participants to its first Atlantic Caregivers Retreat weekends in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This post is part of a series. Learn more about the retreat by clicking here and you can read Alistar’s story here.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the person you care for.

My name is Jaclyn Gallant. I am the mother of three children: Micah (age 7), Maia (age 5) and Myer (age 14 months). Both Micah and Myer have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type II.

CaregiverJaclyn-resizeAlthough both of my boys have this condition, Micah is currently the only one showing symptoms. His physical abilities are not that of a typical 7-year old: he is unable to stand or walk on his own (although he can still crawl very slowly), and he drives both a powerchair and manual chair. He is continuing to lose muscle, and we have noticed he has gotten weaker over the last few months. He requires help to get in and out of his chair, to use the washroom, bathe, get dressed, get in and out of bed, and roll over during the night.

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Taking Care of Caregivers: Alastair

Last fall, Muscular Dystrophy Canada welcomed participants to its first Atlantic Caregivers Retreat weekends in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This post is part of a series. Learn more about the retreat by clicking here and you can read Jaclyn’s story here.

Tell us about yourself and the person you care for.

CaregiverAlastair-resizeMy name is Alastair MacDonald and I am a retired P.E. and classroom teacher. I just turned 60 and have been retired now for five years! I retired as soon as I was able to because my wife, Kathie, became extremely ill, and it was getting too difficult to work and properly care for her at the same time.

Kathie and I actually met when we were in Grade 9. We became more serious in high school and university, and we married following my 3rd year of university. We raised three beautiful children (Sarah, Luke and Cailin), who are successful young adults. They are extremely supportive of me and Kathie, and we are blessed to have them all living near us in the Halifax Dartmouth area.

Kathie worked in the health care system as an ECG technologist for many years until her health issues forced her to stop. Kathie always had health issues, even when she was very young: she had severe asthma, serious allergies and digestive issues. We found out later that she also had an undiagnosed neuromuscular disorder, which falls under the umbrella of muscular dystrophy. This is why we became members of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The organization has been very helpful providing us with equipment (like a seat pillow for a wheelchair and a mattress) and supporting us with advice.

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Taking Care of Caregivers

retreat-resizeLast fall, Muscular Dystrophy Canada welcomed participants to its first Atlantic Caregivers Retreat weekends in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The Caregiver Retreat Weekends gave attendees a respite in a supportive and restorative environment where they could rest, relax, learn, and share their caregiving experience with their peers.  It gave them an opportunity to support each other and share experiences as parents and caregivers of loved ones affected by a neuromuscular disorder.

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Dealing with Caregiver Stress

Respite

Being a caregiver is meaningful and fulfilling, but is also extremely stressful. Caregiver burnout is very common, and though this job is of the utmost importance, it is still essential that you take care of yourself; you cannot take care of others if you are not your best. Below we outline three essential areas in managing stress:

 

 

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