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Spread the Love at North Shore Senior Center

February 14, 2017

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to  live without you.” – A. A. Milne

Marc and June Michaelson have been together since 1953 and have imagined growing old together since the day they met. Like several couples, they were faced with the inevitable, which is aging. Aging can be fearful. We can have plans set up where we know what care we want, what actions we will take, what treatments we are willing to do, but then . . . it actually happens. Suddenly you’re facing something new, something you can’t just get rid of and you don’t know where to turn for help. You start feeling depressed, overwhelmed and scared. Scared of the bills, scared of the final result, and most of all, scared you will lose your soul mate.

This “something new” can come in many different forms. Maybe it’s dementia, or cancer, or even pneumonia. It’s how we cope in the moment that will get us through those difficult times. Marc and June were stricken with the inevitable struggles of aging which left Marc as the caregiver for June. Marc expressed, “Oftentimes it’s not really [if you] want to become a caregiver, but you have to be a caregiver.”

Through care-giving for chronic conditions, people are watching a family member or loved one get worse, not better. Increased needs for those suffering means the caregivers have increased needs as well.

“I didn’t really know how to be a caregiver — I know how to change the washers and a light bulb and crawl on a step ladder, but the rest of keeping us alive was very difficult," said Marc.

It’s important to realize you’re never alone. You’re never alone in any stage of you or your loved one’s aging process. North Shore Senior Center provides an array of activities throughout the year that are designed for different stages of aging.

Some programs North Shore Senior Center provides in our Caregiver Resource Center, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, Caregiver Support Groups, Gap-Filling Funds, Supportive Counseling and Respite Care.

Marc explained that “the support groups are wonderful for me because I can say things to this group of people that I would not say to anybody else on the outside. They all have similar problems. They understand what I’m going through.” Marc added, “It’s nice to know I’m not singled out on the worries I have with successfully taking care of [my loved one].”

North Shore Senior Center’s Caregiver Support Groups offer a unique opportunity to meet with other caregivers. They get to talk with other caregivers who are doing very similar things, and they help each other with solutions to problems. Caregiver Support Groups are extremely important for the well-being of caregivers and their loved ones; it’s truly a very difficult position to be in, and the more help one can get, the better.

June said, “It’s brought us together in the sense that we are doing things together.”

This Valentine’s Day, please help North Shore Senior Center spread the love by doing little acts of kindness. Next time you’re in the Center say hello to that person you always see playing Ping-Pong, chat with a staff member, or discover the story behind that item that catches your eye from Mim's Shop at the Center. You never know what someone is going through, but no matter what it is, North Shore Senior Center is here to help you get through life with as much ease as possible.

To watch Marc and June Michaelson’s full story, please visit https://youtu.be/IpBl0nKSxaM.