In 2015, Kathi Koll started a foundation to help caregivers in need. The issue was a personal one for her. A little more than 10 years before, her husband had suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Kathi became Don's caregiver for six and half years before his passing in 2011 and learned firsthand about the many challenges of caregiving, including the emotional ups and downs, the changes to one's relationship, and all sorts of new practical matters she needed to address.
By suddenly becoming a caregiver, Kathi dealt with intense anxiety and grief and had to completely reorient her life. But through that process, she also learned how to embrace a new normal, nurture love, and handle her many new life stresses in a way that also made those years filled with fond memories despite the catastrophic change that had occurred.
Even after Don died, caregiving has remained a large part of Kathi's world through her work with the Kathi Koll Foundation, which she created to help other caregivers who were struggling.
Her organization provides small subsidies, ranging from $500 to $1,500 to caregivers in need. In addition, the foundation offers guidance to caregivers who may be struggling with the many new demands on them.
For the small grants, applications are available at http://www.kathikollfoundation.org/caregivers/kathi's_caregivers. Assistance can be provided for specific items, such as rent, utility bills, grocery cards, or a wheelchair. To qualify, an applicant's income must be less than $28,000 for an individual caregiver or $34,000 for someone with minor dependent children.
In addition, the website provides helpful articles and videos about issues caregivers often face, and the foundation offers community outreach. For example, speakers can share insights with groups about many caregiving issues, such as living life after a stroke, the immense anxiety that accompanies a catastrophic event, how to manage the expectations of loved ones, coping with the continuum of grief, readjusting to a new life, working toward new, simpler goals, how to improve a patient's emotional care, finding happiness and learning how to love life again.
The idea is to help as many caregivers as possible as they endeavor to address their loved ones' needs.
Article courtesy of the Kathi Koll Foundation
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