National Family Caregivers Month acknowledges the contributions of more than 90 million family caregivers in America who are caring for their aging parents, loved ones with a chronic condition, disease or managing a disability. Join us in recognizing this invisible army of family caregivers. Caregiver Action Network is the organization that chooses the theme for National Family Caregivers Month annually and spearheads celebration of NFC Month nationally. Each year, Caregiver Action Network makes materials available for general use, including the theme, a media kit, posters, sample proclamations, etc. This year’s theme is “Supercharge Your Caregiving”
A message from Christopher MacLellan (The Bow Tie Guy), Founder of the Whole Care Network, Inc.
I Survived Caregiving; You Can Too!
November is National Family Caregivers Month and my wish for every family caregiver is that you learn early on in your caregiving journey that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. Asking for help is also a key component of your self-care.
I make no bones about it, caregiving was hard.
No one plans on being a caregiver, that’s because caregiving just happens. It’s an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident and suddenly, two lives or more are forever changed. Assisting with everyday task like bathing and clothing will take relationships to new levels.
Caregiving is an intense experience that will often ask you to give up things you love in order to care for the one you love. Caregiving is indiscriminate. There is no gender, economic, cultural or orientation boundaries; caregiving is in every board room and in every neighborhood. Caregiving impacts each one of us.
And the stark reality is this; there is a beginning and an end, and in most cases, we are not prepared for these lift changing events.
When caregiving ends, what are we left to do? Immersed in the care for someone else, I had to learn how to become a caregiver to myself. Easier said than done.
I truly believe there is no greater honor bestowed on us than to be entrusted with the care of another human being. Along the journey, we forget that self-care is the most important job for every caregiver.
I’ve come to learn the importance of self-care after our caregiving experienced ended. I am the poster child for want not to do after caregiving ends. Poor emotional, physical, spiritual and financial decisions compounded with complicated grief.
Caregiving is going to be different for each one of us. Yet the one thing that binds all caregivers together is story sharing. It is through story sharing where diversity meets the road to combat a common cause; our common cause is caregiving. When caregivers connect through stories, realize we are not alone and learn there is tremendous amount of support and trusted information available to us.
The most important person helped by sharing one’s caregiving story, is the caregiver!
I survived caregiving because of the real-life stories caregivers shared with me. And that is precisely why I am comfortable in sharing my caregiving story with you. Sharing my story helped me heal and allowed me to learn how to take better care of myself after caregiving ended for me.
Just as caregiving is different for everyone, finding your comfort zone in sharing your story and asking for help will be different too. But don’t despair, when you share your story with a trusted friend and colleague, you will immediately know that you are not alone.
I make no bones about it, caregiving was hard; but I would do it again in an instant if Richard was still alive today. The only thing I would do differently, is take better care of myself, just as Richard asked me to do while in the midst of caregiving.
For more info and resources:
Visit the Whole Care Network
At The Whole Care Network, we believe it is through story sharing where diversity meets the road which allows a community to impact a common cause. The Whole Care Network is a robust collection of individuals who have personal stories to share. As a byproduct of this sharing, we tap into the breadth of valuable perspectives from a diverse group of show host and guests. They share their experiences and offer further support and guidance. The goal of The Whole Care Network is to create a collective impact on issues facing family caregivers in all parts of the country and around the world. When we create a collective impact on a social issue, we collectively take ownership of the issue which makes our families, our communities, and our businesses stronger for ourselves and for future generations.
Visit the Caregiver Action Network
Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. CAN serves a broad spectrum of family caregivers ranging from the parents of children with special needs, to the families and friends of wounded soldiers; from a young couple dealing with a diagnosis of MS, to adult children caring for parents with Alzheimer’s disease. CAN (the National Family Caregivers Association) is a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.