LBDA

Millennial Caregiving

Timothy Braggs
Friday, September 8, 2017

Timothy was a dedicated U.S. Postal Service employee climbing the ladder and becoming one of the youngest postmasters at the age of 28—that is until his mother’s Lewy body dementia (LBD) diagnosis in 2013. It was then that Timothy, a 33-year-old millennial, knew that everything would change.

He is your typical, ambitious millennial with interests in technology, social media (LinkedIn), the outdoors, fishing, camping and the occasional movie. His mother was a hardworking woman, something that she instilled in him at a young age, and showed him that a strong work ethic and sacrifices for loved ones are necessary for an unselfish life. Her 35 years in local government supported him and his siblings, and he didn’t hesitate to support her when the time came because he believes actions, not words, define love.

His mother initially noticed something was wrong when she started exhibiting tremors. She visited her primary care physician, who thought it was Parkinson’s disease. She soon started experiencing hallucinations that people were outside the house, and Timothy spent an entire night in his car to ensure no one was trying to get into her home. Once satisfied that the house was safe and after sleep issues started to occur, Timothy felt it was time it was time to get to the root of these issues. Appointments were made and eventually her psychologist, psychiatrist and neurologist determined it was LBD.

With that diagnosis, Timothy stepped up and became a caregiver. She moved in with him in May 2013, and he hired caregiver assistants for when he is at work or running errands. He put his career on pause, sacrificing opportunities for advancement, to remain at a lower position with the USPS so he could balance his work life with his caregiving duties. His duties include cooking healthy and delicious meals, scheduling and transporting her to medical appointments, ensuring she takes her medications and supplements, taking care of her hygiene, going for early morning walks to keep his mother active, planning weekly outings to his U.S. Air Force veteran father’s grave, and more. Inspired by her rehabilitation therapists after an unrelated medical issue, Timothy implemented some of the activities she was participating in. These activities included memory games, letter writing, retrieving objects from play dough, handling soft rubber balls, tackling puzzles, and more.

Timothy relies on few resources. In addition to his faith, his primary resource has been the LBDA website that he uses as an educational resource. He has browsed most of the website and studied up on the disease as a way of preparing for what’s to come and to corroborate what has been.

Caregiving is an act of love regardless of age, and Timothy is proof of that.

Click here to read a poem by Tim that expresses how he feels about caregiving.