SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Elder Services staff estimate that there are more than 56,000 people in our area who care for another adult at home. On Tuesday, a small percentage of them were scheduled to get recognition and resources at the 13th annual Family Caregiver Conference at the Lincoln Center in Spokane.
Bob Lininger, 80, and his wife, Jeanine, 83, have been together for 44 years. Jeanine, a former charge nurse at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia back in 2001. Ever since then, it has slowly progressed, taking more and more of Jeanine’s memory.
Bob is her full-time caregiver. He helps her with everything every day, from doing her hair, to reminding her the order in which to apply her makeup. He said it’s hard watching your best friend lose the ability to do things.
“I like very strong, independent ladies, which she definitely is – or was – before the dementia set in,” Bob Lininger said. “But she still has her beautiful personality and a sense of humor.”
He said he never realized resources existed for full-time home caregivers like him. But once he learned of Elder Services, he joined a monthly support group, which he said has been a lifesaver.
On Tuesday, Bob planned to join about 200 other caregivers at the Family Caregiver Conference, where he could ask questions and share thoughts with other community members who share his sentiments of providing care out of love.
“It’s somebody that I love very much,” Bob said. “If the situation were reversed, she’d be right there taking care of me. And I know that. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Elder Services encourages home caregivers in the Spokane area to contact them at (509) 458-7450.