A Labor of Love
Caregiving and caregivers practice a labor of love. But it is also very stressful and often thankless. Millions of us take care of a friend or family member with a serious health condition.
For the first time in history, it is reasonable for many of us to expect to live to over 100. And while some may be living longer, many of us are being asked to become caregivers as someone close to us deals with a health issue that spans years of care.
While caregiving taps into our emotional, physical and financial health, finding trusted information about where to get help makes many people feel alone on this journey.
Caregiving and Caregivers and Work
Did you know 70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to working dual roles?
This is why it’s important for companies to make room in the workplace for employees to discuss their caregiving and grief journeys openly and feel supported. Authenticity, vulnerability, bringing our whole selves can make all the difference in our journeys as well as the people we work with.
When we can show up as who we are in every part of our life, we can openly share what we have on our plate from caregiving to other family responsibilities. And we need to learn to ask for the support we may also need.
Anyone of us who cares in dark and vulnerable moments of someone’s life is courageous and offers strength at times of need.
A Resource to Help
My dear friend Lynn Abaté-Johnson shares her caregiving journey in her new book, Out of Love: A Daughter’s Journey with Her Mom to the End. It tells the story of how she navigated using systems and structures she created when her mom was diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer in 2011.
The book reflects what I experienced when I met Lynn and her mom in San Francisco years ago: deep love, compassion and caring. Like me, she listened to Toni Morrison’s advice, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
“While in shock and naturally freaked out, I was able to navigate many layers of “to-dos.” And learn how to “be with” the circumstances I could not control,” Lynn observes.
“My purpose in writing this book is to help other family caregivers, especially daughters thrust into being all-of-a-sudden caregivers, feel supported and encouraged. I hope to help reduce the trauma of it all – even a tiny bit – for those who are suddenly faced with a catastrophic diagnosis in their families. I see you and I’m here alongside you.”
Lynn wishes she had a place to openly connect with other caregivers when she was going through her journey. So, she created an online community, by and for caregivers. It’s a place designed by and for family caregivers who could use encouragement and support.