Our Caregiving Year in Review


Our Caregiving Year in Review

We met in Miami in November, the day before our cruise hit the high seas. Front, from left: ejourneys, me. Back, from left: Teresa, Pegi's niece and ride, Pegi, Chris, Kathy, Richard and Trish We met in Miami in November, the day before our cruise hit the high seas. Front, from left: ejourneys, me.
Back, from left: Teresa, Pegi's niece and ride, Pegi, Chris, Kathy, Richard and Trish

We had a wonderful 2013 on Caregiving.com. We published 1,508 blog posts, enjoyed a week-long celebration for our 17th birthday, introduced weekly video chats with family caregivers and delved into interesting discussions on Your Caregiving Journey, our Internet talk show.

We told 17 six-word stories, including your definition of caregiving. We posted 10 caregiving tips every day in November.

Our bloggers wrote about their worries, bad days and successes as they care for their family member or friend. When I think of the tenacity of a family caregiver, I think of an October post from @kc9hdp in which he describes how he saved a steak dinner during a fire alarm.

We laughed with @angelaholmes, related to @bobmarcotte and borrowed energy from @ccforsure. We felt grateful for the company of @gail, @jwillis676, @tiredamy2007, @comicvixen, @sd803, @kayepeanyc, @zkidookreativ, @jb01, @mariakeil, @teresatalk and @thedogmama, with whom I spent many wonderful late nights in our chatroom. And, @cathymitchell, I'm so looking forward to this year being the year you begin your blog.

Our thoughts stay with those whose carees passed this year, including @terih, @channy81, @kccindy56, @willow62 and @derbytwo.

We discussed the difficulties family caregivers face, including why it's such a lonely experience. We got really mad about a contest which seemed to reward family caregivers for putting their lives on hold. We held monthly webinars; you loved Finding Purpose in Your Caregiving Days the most.

We enjoyed a cruise in November and a get-together in Miami before we left for the high seas with both cruisers (@kreisler, @trish, @kathy and myself) and local members (@ejourneys, @worriedwife and @thpurplejacket). I also had the opportunity to visit @thpurplejacket twice and meet @worriedwife and @derbytwo for a wonderful lunch.

Debbie, Pegi and I met for lunch in Ft. Lauderdale in November after I returned from our cruise. Debbie (middle), Pegi (right) and I met for lunch in Ft. Lauderdale in November after I returned from our cruise.

Our Third Annual Caregiving Art Show happened in September. We played Solitaire Showdown once a month, crowning @the-unit-known-as-shandi the 2013 champ in our December play-off. And, we chatted every other Sunday evening on Twitter (#carechat).

We also added daily chats for our Caregiving.com members as well as weekly telephone support groups. We formed new groups, including Beautiful, to share the beauty in our day; Three Positives, to help us focus what's going well rather than wrong; and Caregivers Create, to admire your talents. We introduced WAIT Buddy, to keep you company during a long wait, and Phone Buddy, to simply keep you company. And, our VRide encouraged us to get fit.

We released a free eBook, After the Diagnosis, and our authors (@g-j and Heather) shared tips on managing after the diagnosis in one of our video chats. @ejourneys turned our Community Caregiving Journal into two beautiful eBooks showcasing her photo-poems, Caregiving in Five Lines, Volume 1, and Caregiving in Five Lines, Volume 2.

Through our CareGifters program, we raised money to help Casandra and Gwyn and published four more books in our CareGifters Book Series: Loss, our 2012 Anthology, Decisions and Love. Thanks so much to @trish who creates and edits these beautiful books.

We continue our work to disrupt the health care system and our communities to show the important work of family caregivers. In February, @kreisler and I joined a video chat on Huffington Post Live to talk about the future of elder care. The New York Times featured three of our members in a two-part series about managing life after caregiving. The series also brought us our busiest day on the website--March 7, 2013.

My speech in May at a conference sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley chapter, received coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer; our website received a mention from Reader's Digest and Money magazine quoted me. On one day in June, Richard (@kreisler) shared his perspective on caring for his mom in USA Today while I offered an insight about the experience in a Reuters article. Later that same month, @trish and I contributed to U.S. News and World Report article about working and caregiving.

Thanks so much to the volunteers who help me keep all this going: @jbones1961, @oscargal, @kreisler, @kathy, @trish, @worriedwife, @ejourneys @thpuplejacket and @g-j. I am so grateful for all your help in 2013--you truly made all this possible.

I'm so proud of all that we accomplish together. I'm most touched by our moments together--when a blog post hits home for you, when a conversation in our chatroom changes your perspective and when a caring comment from one of our members and visitors gives you the strength to continue.

Thanks so much to all of you--our visitors and our members--for an awesome 2013. I'm looking forward to another year of amazing.

(Update: I totally forgot about our picnic lunch in March with @ejourneys, @thpurplejacket and @jbones1961. Please feel free to remind me of any other events, moments or accomplishments I forgot to mention in our comments section, below.)

(Update No. 2: I also want to give a special shout-out to @roaringmouse, who helped me with our 36-hour chatroom over the Christmas holiday. We opened our chat to any member of visitor who needed a safe place to land on Christmas Eve and Christmas. And, Roaringmouse was a huge help to keep our chatroom available for 36 hours!)

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What a thrill to have met other \"family\" members in March and November! Wishing strength and support for all in 2014. Thanks to everyone for being there. (((Hugs)))

Chris MacLellan

When we take a moment and look back on the year that passed us by, we find that even though Caregiving presents itself with many daily challenges, there are so many joys that come from our Caregivnig experience. The care and support that we receive by being in this extended family, sure makes our Caregiving journeys easier. Sure, we would all like to post more, we all like to find more time to visit, we all would like to find more time for ourselves. But one of the biggest comforts that I know is that no matter how much I post, how much I visit, I know that I've found a place where I can find comfort. Thanks Denise for all that you do!