Dear Media, When Featuring a Family Caregiver's Story, Help That Family Caregiver

Denise

Dear Media, When Featuring a Family Caregiver's Story, Help That Family Caregiver

Denise
gift-493040_640This week, Dr. Phil featured a young adult, Stephanie, who cares for her dad on his show. You can watch the video, below.

Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, visited Stephanie at home to learn more about her experiences. In the segment, Dr. Lewis-Hall tells Stephanie she must take care of herself so she can be available for all those she cares for.

ARGH!

This makes me nuts! We need to encourage family caregivers to take care of themselves so they have their own lives. We need family caregivers to be ready for their future, which means taking care of themselves today. We need to help family caregivers keep their life rather than believing it's all about living life for another. (Read: It's Not About Putting Your Life on Hold.)

The only national program or policy that helps family caregivers keep a life--however they define that for themselves--during caregiving is called "Fend for Yourself." You're a health care provider without any benefits. You're on your own.

A media outlet that profiles a family caregiver must also provide help for that family caregiver. Dr. Lewis-Hall mentions two national organizations which she believes can help Stephanie. Why can't Pfizer and Dr. Phil help her? Why not give her the gift of regular, weekly time off to be with her friends? Certainly, a large national home care company would be willing to donate hours for the mention on Dr. Phil's show.

We appreciate that the media's new focus on caregiving stories. Let's not just tell the story--let's help the family caregiver.