NCC19 Presenter: Deborah Harlow
NCC19 Presenter: Deborah Harlow
The Journey of the Child Caregiver: The Overlooked and Most Fragile Caregiver Role
While the vast majority of family caregivers struggle to strike a balance between different areas of their lives, such as work and a family of their own, young caregivers are faced with the unique problem of caring for a loved one while they still need care themselves. And while adult caregivers may have the option of taking leave from work, or reducing work hours, students are forced to find ways to continue their studies while taking on duties ranging from increased household chores to helping manage a parents’ medication schedule. All this while worrying that they may lose one of the people that they love most. The stress of balancing these issues can be overwhelming for a mature adult, let alone a child or teenager who is still developing the management of their emotions, fear and stress. Since youth caregivers fall outside the scope of most surveys, polls and research studies they become the most overlooked populous within the caregiving community and this is a severe problem as the number of youth caregivers continues to be on the rise in the USA. There also have been studies done that show youth caregivers go on to have both emotional and physical health issues at a much younger age than non-caregiver youth growing up without the added stress of family caregiving. These combined issues need to be addressed as they face us all, whether we have children or not.
A month after Deborah’s 12th birthday, just after her family had recently relocated to a new town, hundreds of miles away from any family or community, her father had a massive stroke. Her father lived for another 12 years needing constant care.
Deborah learned to become very self-sufficient and a master problem solver. She also learned to suppress her voice as there were no adults who could listen to her needs in such a state of constant crisis. From this experience, she would dedicate her future to being an advocate for those whose voices were not heard … becoming an advocate for women, caregivers and children.
After her father passed, Deborah struggled with what to do with her life as everything had been on hold for so many years. She spent time traveling, studying Sociology, Psychology and Pediatric Nursing. She explored concepts of wellness, self-care, spiritual entrepreneurship and feminine leadership.
Along the journey, she realized that her joy factor comes from connecting with people and helping them better understand who they are so they can navigate life in the most nurturing and joyful way. She launched a business, The Joyful Leader, where she coaches and guides women entrepreneurs, girls, and family caregivers to find joy in the journey. Her clients and community lovingly nicknamed her Heart Sherpa as she guides them on this beautiful journey we call life.
Deborah has navigated family caregiving in all its many facets, including today being in the sandwich phase of caregiving while raising her 8-year-old daughter and caring for her mother and brother. Deborah is an author, life and business coach, mediator and foodie.
We are so very grateful for the support of the following sponsors of our National Caregiving Conference,
especially Embracing Carers™, this year's supporting sponsor:
~ NCC19 Agenda ~ Meet Our Presenters ~
~ NCC19 Virtual Registration ~ NCC19 In-Person Registration (Chicago) ~
~ Hotel Reservations ~ NCC19 Volunteer Registration ~ Sponsor or Exhibit ~
~ Testimonials ~ Virtual Caregiving Summit ~
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