Tuesday, June 17, 2008

caregiving: "The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving"

Like many caregivers, I have discovered NO cookie cutter formula for caregiving. I have learned (2004 Transitional Year to Care Facility Era) that answers and solutions are both as elusive and abundant as the love, creativity and resources of people thrust into caregiving roles.  


Family Caregiving Consultant at the Alzheimer's Association and Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center + artist + author + healer + spiritual counselor = Sheryl Karas.  


An excerpt from Sheryl's journal:


Deciding to Use a Nursing Home


“… I once had a caregiver tell me that she had given up her career to take care of her mother and that in the course of caregiving she had become a virtual prisoner in her house. Her mother could not be left alone and the daughter could not find the paid help she needed. ... There were very few workable options left but the caregiver hung on and on until the day she was diagnosed with a serious illness. …


All her life the mother had told her daughter “I’ll kill myself if you put me in a nursing home,” but within a few weeks she adjusted and eventually came to like her new caregivers and friends. My job shifted to consoling the caregiver for not doing it sooner.


The most loving option is to  do what people need, not necessarily what they think they want. Keep in mind that placement is not the end of your caregiving career. The family caregiver can and should play an important role in providing the emotional, spiritual, and advocacy support …”


As Sheryl shared in a recent email to me, “Most people came to me seeking practical assistance but -- almost without exception -- eventually the conversation would turn to emotional and spiritual issues coming up along the way.” 


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 

musings:  www.lairofcachalot.blogspot.com

website: www.CaregivinglyYours.com

videos: http://www.youtube.com/daddyleer


(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. (((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))))))Very intresting.

  2. I bet too the emotional and spiritual aspects of care giving are often so overlooked; it is physically demanding for sure, but emotionally definitely and without a good support system (or a sense of humor, but definitely both), I am sure it can become overwhelming and exhausting.  If someone is constantly giving, giving, giving and getting nothing back not just from the person they are caregiving but from another support system, I cannot imagine the darkness and despair they, the caregiver, starts to feel when the caregiver has to be "up" most of the time around the caregivee. Gosh, you can see the importance of good quality respite care that is not exorbitant in price


  3. How difficult the decisions to put the loved on in a facility for 24 hour care may be I found that I probably found it far more difficult for me.  Mom seems to be adjusting far better that  I have adjusted! LOL

  4. The only cookie-cutter formula for caregiving I have found is love and respect. But, there are other issues that combine to make any decision.



  5. it is never easy to put a loved one in a nursing care home but they sometimes do very well


  6. The word that struck me the hardest here was "resources".  Information of the "resources" available to disabled, caregivers and families was something that was nearly nonexistent in my area during the 16 years I took care of my husband.  Creativity was the keyword for me in those days.  Placing my husband in a nursing home was something that nearly pushed me over the edge emotionally, ::I had failed in taking care of him::  and of course, rationally I knew better, but lacked the emotional stamina and support from others to survive it.  He only lived 7 months after he was placed, but we waited till there was no way to provide the medical care that he required at home.  I have one message to anyone who has family that is a primary caregiver-Never forget that the caregiver NEEDS your support, too!  It took me years to heal....
    Thanks so much for all the information and insight into caregiving you provide here, Patrick, even though I am no longer in the situation, reading here helps me understand the things that I didn't even have the time to consider back then.
                                                                 Sincerely,   Leigh



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