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.
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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