Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into reality

Building self-care into natural caregiving requires a mind shift. Natural caring relationships are reciprocal. Our job is both to give and to receive care

Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into realityThe refrain of “care for the caregiver” rings loud and hollow for many natural caregivers. A Google search turns up hundreds if not thousands of links to finger-wagging articles full of instructions to “take a bath” or “just take a break.” Natural carers are told that once they have taken care of their loved ones’…

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s health

Family caregivers and professional providers must work together to achieve well-being for people with chronic and complex diseases

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s healthAchieving health and well-being is never a solo act. Throughout our lifetime, the people who are closest to us – our family and friends – are the greatest influence on our health. As we are on theirs. This is interdependence. Far too often when the professional care system is involved, recognition of interdependence falls by the wayside.…

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?

No professional care provider can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?The term visionary is rarely used to describe natural caregivers. Yet vision is indispensable when we take care. No professional care provider, no matter how trained or prepared, can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends. Visionaries make the truth visible. Caregiving requires…

When a caregiver becomes a care receiver

Lesson learned: We need to apply child-friendly practices to adult care because when you are ill or injured, you feel like a child again

When a caregiver becomes a care receiverPaid or unpaid, caregivers are never supposed to get sick, right? But sometimes they do. Sue Robins owns a health-care communications company and is the mother of a young man with Down syndrome. Robins used to blog about caring for her son and his encounters with the health-care system. But that all changed the day she received…

The challenge of talking about caregiving at work

Developing a language that meaningfully resonates with our experiences is an essential step toward creating and leveraging social support

The challenge of talking about caregiving at workTalking about caregiving at work can be difficult and stressful. And that’s important because 35 per cent of all employed Canadians have caring responsibilities at home. Dr. Zachary White is an expert in the barriers that natural caregivers face in explaining their responsibilities at home to others, including employers. White is an associate professor at Queens…

It’s time to change the culture of living with a disability in Canada

The disability family has been an afterthought for governments, service agencies and organizations for far too long

It’s time to change the culture of living with a disability in CanadaCan you imagine this? It's just a few years from today and there have been a lot of positive changes for persons living with disabilities and their families in Canada. We have a new Canadians With Disabilities Act. Our government has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Across the country, there…

Six places to find local caregiver support

Here are some community resources where help might be found in your neighbourhood. There may be more caregiver support than you imagined

Six places to find local caregiver supportNatural caregiving at home can be isolating. Alone with your loved one, it’s easy to lose connection to the neighbourhood and the supports in it. Here are some community resources where help might be found: Schools Elementary schools may have a volunteer program for reading to children. Participating as a reader can provide a valuable…

No going back from suddenly becoming a caregiver

There are a few basic truths that reveal themselves in almost every story of sudden-onset caregiving. The first is that love remains intact

No going back from suddenly becoming a caregiverFalling into caregiving is a particularly apt descriptor for anyone whose spouse has suffered a stroke or received a cancer diagnosis. The day of a loved one’s serious head injury is the marker for a family life before and after caregiving. A catastrophic event or diagnosis catapults a caregiver into another land – a territory…

Caregivers mustn’t be afraid to ask for help

While care for those we love creates meaningful experiences, it can also lead to exhaustion, isolation and burnout. We need to welcome help

Caregivers mustn’t be afraid to ask for helpCanada’s 8.1 million natural caregivers frequently hear their friends, family, neighbours and co-workers say, “Don’t hesitate to let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” The automatic verbal response from the caregiver if often a grateful, “Sure, will do.” But that rarely happens. Instead there’s hesitance, reluctance or even a refusal…

Five (bad) assumptions caregivers must overcome

These assumptions can harm caregivers over time. Happiness and fulfilment are emotions that must be generated from within

Five (bad) assumptions caregivers must overcomeMost people who say ‘Yes’ to caring for someone they love begin with a set of assumptions. And those assumptions can harm us over time. Here’s why. Bad assumption: My role is to give care. Why do we believe that caregivers only give care? Of course, there is one person in a care relationship who will…