Our panel discussion on advocacy.

I was fortunate enough to attend the National Caregiving Conference 2017, in Chicago and be on 3 panel discussions with some very wonderful people. It was an extremely professional conference, and all those involved in its planning and implementation should be hailed as heroes, it was not a small undertaking.

The hotel was accommodating, quiet and immaculate. The food was awesome! If you miss NCC18, it will be a huge loss for you, because the information gathered and the friendships made and rejuvenated were heart warming. I met so many people I only knew online for years. That alone is worth the trip.

To know that 250 people were all there with their own story of caregiving, past, present and future and they all wanted information on how to do what they do better than what they have been doing, was inspiring.

Receiving the National Caregiving Advocacy Award from Denise.

There is strength in numbers. We must, as a caregiving community, come together to demand better services for our carees and better care for ourselves. Our unified voices, all delivering the message of the important work we do, to our communities, our legislators, and our doctors is so very important. We save the health care system and the government billions and billions of dollars in care. We need to make sure they know that it is neither easy nor cheap to take on this task. Yes, we do it for love, but we also need recognition of our contribution to society. The least we need is to be a vital part of the care of our carees, and to have our own health monitored for signs of burnout and negligence of our own medical issues. We are owed that respect.

As I said in my participation on the Advocacy Panel discussion, we can all dip our toe into the rushing water of advocacy. Take on one thing you are passionate about and make one call to see how you can make it happen. Believe me, when you dip your toe into the water, a tsunami will follow of great opportunities to make all caregiver's lives better.

Although it is so comforting to be among others who care for loved ones, we have to step outside of our circle and make our contributions known. We need to make sure we have put on our oxygen masks and not neglect ourselves.

So, as the grateful recipient of the National Caregiving Advocacy Award, I implore you to take off those shoes and socks and start dipping those toes into the water of advocacy. Together, we CAN change the world.

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Thank you, Sharon and congratulations for your award. I agree that there is a great deal of work to be done to educate both the professional and the community at large on the presence of and needs of caregivers. I did not understand until I became a caregiver. I don't think I knew that many people who were caregivers but that might be because they were isolated by there responsibilities for a caree. If I would be allowed one wish to be granted for caregivers and their families it would be for standardized medical help, testing and educating to be for available to all caregivers. Knowledge provides the opportunity to relax and begin to build a situation that fits the needs and desires of a caregiver's individual experience. I would love to see certified caregiving consultants embedded in hospitals and doctors offices, not my idea, I heard that on one of the webinars. The rich resources and valuable experience we have to offer are not being recognized or given a voice. Wouldn't it be awesome to have had someone who met with you who was uniquely trained to help educate and guide you and your family? I like recognition also but I want more...I want recognition with the opportunity to make that recognition bring with it the opportunity to serve and, hopefully, lessen the brutal landing that comes as families learn they are facing a world that includes caregiving and so much more. Thank you for your service, Sharon.


Congratulations, Sharon!

Lillie Fuller

Great post Sharon. It was wonderful meeting you. Thank you for being an inspiration to many.