Reframing Caregiving


95-year-old Ruth Wittenberg in the home she shares with her daughter and grandson

Is it possible to view caregiving for an elderly loved one as a precious gift instead of a difficult burden? For Susan Wittenberg, the answer is yes. Susan and her son, Alexander, live with and provide care for Ruth Wittenberg, Susan’s 95-year-old mother. They live in Athens, Georgia.


Susan’s caregiving journey started several years ago after her father’s dementia diagnosis. Susan cared for her father in his home for as long as she could manage the physical demands. Eventually, it became too much. “It got to the point where I couldn’t pick him up out of the bed,” she remembers. “My brother and I were able to find an assisted living facility to meet my father’s needs at Avery Place in Winterville. Dad lived there for six weeks before he died. I feel fortunate that I was able to care for him almost all the way to the end.”


Kimbrough Law entered their lives after Susan’s brother heard attorney Kim Kimbrough make a presentation on VA benefits at Avery Place. “Kimbrough Law helped my father get his veterans benefits,” she said. “Mom then received the Veterans Aid & Attendance surviving spouse benefit. Kimbrough Law also helped us deal with the skilled nursing facility and Mom’s rehabilitation experience following surgery. Mary Jo Johnson (one of Kimbrough Law’s Life Care Coordinators) helped Mom successfully transition home by coordinating home health care nursing and physical therapy services. Mary Jo continues to help us. She has been a godsend.”


Susan considers it a privilege to be a caregiver to her mother. “We love each other and enjoy each other's company,” Susan said. “Mom is mentally strong and has a good head on her shoulders. We get along well together, and there's no fighting or anything. It's just natural to me. I enjoy it.”

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