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Give caregivers some meaningful time off

To the editor: It is worthwhile to encourage friends to help those who are caring for their loved ones. However, there should be places for caregivers to go so they can have a break from the hard work involved in providing care, including feeding, pushing a wheelchair and lifting and moving a patient safely. ("How to care for caregivers," Op-Ed, Nov. 19)

The reality I encountered is that even a nurse's aide hired from an assisted living facility would not know how to feed a patient to prevent aspiration. A salesperson at a private pharmacy didn't know what a male catheter was. These are the kinds of services caregivers need if we are to look out for ourselves on occasion and take a break from our work.

In Pasadena, there is a group called the Convalescence Aid Society that leases donated wheelchairs and other equipment to the disabled. Maybe we can create a "Convalescence Aid Society for Caregivers" that has a pool of trained and educated volunteers who have the skills necessary to give caregivers the short breaks they really need.

Joyce Zhao, San Gabriel

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