Caring for family mem­bers: appre­ci­a­tion rather than unpaid work

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People like Olena Barmet who nurse a family member at home do an enormous job. The Spitex organisation solicare ensures that these people receive financial recognition for their efforts. As a health partner, CSS welcomes such initiatives in the healthcare sector.

Who is Olena Barmet?

Olena Barmet is mother to a 4-year-old son and nurses her husband and mother at home. Born in Ukraine, she has lived in Switzerland for twenty years and is a trained editor with a university degree.

The 44-year-old gave up her part-time job a year ago in favour of caring for her husband. She is currently completing a nursing assistant course with the Swiss Red Cross. As a carer, she receives a salary for her work through solicare.

Positive despite a difficult fate

«With time you become strong – you have no other choice,» says Olena Barmet. She doesn't give in, but makes the best of the situation. Holding her son in her arms for the first time at the women's clinic, she couldn't immediately share the miracle of birth with the father of her child. He was in the hospital across the street, but could visit her in a wheelchair. Despite being weakened by the birth, Olena Barmet fought for her husband not to be sent to a nursing home, but to a suitable rehab. Four years have passed since then.

This is what the new reality looks like

Her husband is now completely dependent on a wheelchair and constant care. As a result of his multi-infarct syndrome – involving a heart attack and a double brain stroke – he suffers from leg-related tetraparesis. This mainly affects his legs, which are partially paralysed. «He’ll never get better,» says Olena Barmet.

He’ll never get better. I’ve made it my job to make sure that at least he doesn’t get worse.
Olena Barmet

It’s the small victories

At her husband's request, she got a wall bar and a training machine for him to use at home. The two of them practise with the apparatus every day to get blood flowing to his legs. The result is gratifying: «The physiotherapist says he sees certain improvements.»

«Never give up» seems to be her motto

Despite having a child to take care of too, the Ukrainian-born wife has fought for her husband to be with her and their son. «In my country, it’s a disgrace if you have to put a family member in a nursing home,» Olena Barmet says. «My husband also cared for his first wife until she died. He deserves the same.» Meanwhile, Olena Barmet's mother has also come to live with the family. After an eye stroke, her vision is so poor that she is also dependent on help.

CSS contributes to course costs

Do you also nurse your family members at home and would like to receive further training? We will contribute to the costs of the foundation course run by the Migros Klubschule for carers who nurse family members.

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