Argh! Your Headlines!


Argh! Your Headlines!

On a regular basis, I write about the headlines I see which make me crazy. I saw two more this week:

We're overwhelmed, stressed and incredibly lonely. Please write headlines which support us, nurture us, honor us. The headlines above, I argue, suggest that we need to be rescued from ourselves. We don't. We're kind, amazing, diligent, caring individuals doing our best during a really tough, challenging time.

During a recent Certified Caregiving Facilitator training, one of our participants took a similar viewpoint -- that family caregivers don't take care of themselves. Before our training, I shared my perspective with the participant that self-care during caregiving is different and we must believe family caregivers are doing all they can to take care of themselves.

The participant, who truly means well, got lost in the idea that family caregivers don't take care of themselves during our training. In getting lost, she became a lecturer about family caregivers not taking care of themselves during her time to practice her facilitation skills. She became a lecturer rather than a facilitator.

In my feedback to her, it became clear that I needed to show her that family caregivers know they need self-care. I asked the other participants in our class, all of whom care for a family member:

How many of you do not know that you have to take care of yourself?

No one raised their hand. We know we have to take care of ourselves. We don't need a lecture, we need understanding of our really tough situations. The challenge of caregiving is trying to find the resources -- help, time, money, support -- to take a break.

Rather than deciding we're the problem in our self-care dilemma, take a look at our health care system. The system delegates our family member's care to us without any system in place to support us, train us, follow up with us and give us a break. If you want a headline about our self-care, this one will probably fit:

Family Caregivers Climb Mountains Every Day; Self-Care Elusively Lives on the Other Side

What do you think?