MOSS BLUFF, LA (KPLC) - It might be one of the most under-appreciated jobs: caring for a loved one at the end of life.
Sherry Livingston's parents are 85 and 82. They're suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia.
"It's a privilege to be able to walk with them in the last days of their journey," said Livingston. "But, it's taken a toll."
Livingston said she spends hours every day caring for the basic necessities of her parents.
"Seeing them go downhill, they're not the people they used to be," said Livingston.
To cope, she's been attending a support group for caregivers in Moss Bluff.
"I learned that it's not the end of the world, it just feels so much more comforting to share our woes and successes," said Livingston. "All so we can do a better job for the people that mean the most in your life."
Annette Tritico, the facilitator for these free, confidential sessions, said she encourages anyone working as a caregiver to attend.
"They feel like they're not alone," said Tritico. "Each month, they'll get information to help them deal with their family's disease."
Plus, as the holidays rapidly approach, it can bring added stress for both the caregiver and the patient. Tritico has some pointers:
"If you're going to a family gathering...have a room in the home where they can go and relax and be calm," said Tritico.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 20, at noon at the Gardens Assisted Living Center in Lake Charles. In Moss Bluff, meetings take place on the second Monday of every month at St. Theodore Church.