Kailua woman balancing work and full-time caregiving - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kailua woman balancing work and full-time caregiving

Carol Hough Carol Hough
Wayne Hough Wayne Hough

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - Many island caregivers put their personal finances, including retirement savings at risk, to take care of aging relatives. During these difficult economic times, there is even more stress on those who care for family.

There are an estimated 100,000 family caregivers in Hawaii. Meet one of them. She's an Oahu woman whose life has been turned upside down because of disease and disability.

Carol Hough's day begins early.

"My day usually starts at 6 in the morning," said the Keolu Hills resident.

Along with her fulltime job, day and night she is a caregiver for her husband Wayne.

He's battling Alzheimer's and blindness.

"One of the things that shocked me emotionally was when I began to lose my eyesight," said 83-year-old Wayne Hough.

Wayne can no longer walk on his own and needs help getting around.

Taking care of her husband has also taken its toll on Carol.

"It can be both physically tiring and emotionally exhausting," said Carol.

Seeing someone you love and spent your life with, slowly deteriorate before your eyes.

"That makes it all the more, difficult. The sense of loss as I see him now, not just aging but slipping away," said Carol.

There is also a tremendous financial burden for Carol and other caregivers like her. Thousands of dollars are spent on doctors, medication and more each month. Leaving her no choice when it comes to work.

"At this point in time I would find it impossible to retire"

But even with all the difficulties these two face, they face them together.

"Do you still love me?" asks Wayne to Carol.

"Yes," she replies.

"Good" answers Wayne.

There is still love and laughter.

They share the simple pleasures, like looking at the lake outside.

Or playing with their pet Pippen.

And for now, Carol is successfully managing this important labor of love, as a caregiver.

Like many of us, Carol and Wayne said they never expected to be in this situation as they aged. They advise everyone to talk about what could happen, both financially and emotionally before it ever does.

For more information for caregivers go to the local aarp website link on this page or give them a call at 808-843-1906.

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