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Linda Hollowat New Orleans, Louisiana

Securing Someone Else’s Future

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Linda is 58 years old and lives in New Orleans with her husband and son.

After Hurricane Katrina, Linda and her husband became the caregivers for her mother who was 80 years old at the time. Linda, her mother and the rest of the family moved to Mississippi for 11 months where they began to notice a change in her mother’s personality. After the confusion and the displacement of the storm, her mother began to show signs of dementia. Before the storm, Linda’s mother lived in her own home and cared for herself with the help of daily check-ins from family members. After the storm, her mother became more and more dependent on outside care.

When Linda and her family returned to New Orleans, she and her husband started looking for jobs. Prior to the storm, Linda worked at a daycare center for 23 years. After she returned to New Orleans, she found a job as a part-time office manager at the Welfare Rights Organization.

But there was a problem. Linda’s mother still needed full-time care and her options were very limited due to few available services after the storm. The only agency in town that provided adult daycare had a very long waiting list. There were no other family members who could take on the care of her mother because they were still displaced. The state would not send in or pay for a full time caretaker.

After much thought, Linda and her husband decided that they would both work part time, with Linda working in the mornings and her husband working in the late afternoon. This system worked for the family for five years until her mother became bedridden. Because Linda is not of retirement age, she had to continue to work.

Linda’s mother’s care became more vital and required more time. There wasn’t much more that Linda and her family could do. They could only get a nurse to come out a few days a week and only for a short amount of time each visit. Hiring a private sitter was not affordable. They were faced with the hard decision of placing her mother in a nursing home. Eventually, Linda’s mother was placed in a beautiful retirement home.

If the Caregiver’s Credit was in place at that time, Linda would have been able to stay home and take care of her mom herself while still earning the credits she would need when she retires.