Leon Watts III is a caregiver and a client at Los Angeles CRC, part of the Family Caregiver Support Center at the University of Southern California. We interviewed Leon to hear about his caregiving journey – read below to hear about his experience!
Who do/did you care for?
I care for a woman named Marilyn. She is 95 years old and I have known her for 35 years.
Share your story – how your caregiving journey started and how you got to where you are today.
Marilyn and I are not related, but we have been friends for many years. She started out as one of my clients but we hit it off as friends immediately.
She has no one else to care for her. Marilyn asked me to take care of her for the rest of her life, about 12 years ago. She does have long term care insurance that I manage, along with making all the decisions for her personal and business matters.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?
How important this was going to be, and how rewarding it could be. I knew it was going to be consuming (from having been involved with my parents and grandparents.)
How has LA CRC helped you with your caregiving journey?
I was first made aware of the LA CRC back in 2003. I was trying to decide about moving my father from Chicago to Los Angeles. Someone told me about the USC Family Caregiver Support Center.
As a caregiver, what resources would you like to have available?
Personally, I’m fine. I’d like more caregivers to know about the organization and gerontology information. I think there should be public commercials to inform people that the organization is available to help folks.
What do you do for self-care?
Because my grandfather was a doctor, I was raised learning how to take care of myself. As I have aged and been a caregiver I’ve always known the importance of not overdoing the work of caregiving, to the point I fall into bad health.
What else would you like to share with fellow caregivers?
Talk! Tell everyone you know what you are doing and if you are becoming overwhelmed with the person you are caring for or the house or apartment is becoming overwhelming….get help.
We agree with Leon. It is so important to talk about how you are feeling and to ask for help if you need it! If you are a family caregiver or know someone who is, click here to find your/their local CRC to connect and get free resources today.Share this post: