We Need to Right the Conversations


We Need to Right the Conversations

mic-72851_640Thank you all so much for all of you who voted for our question ("How will you help and support family caregivers?") to be asked during last night's presidential debate.

Even if we had the votes, our question wouldn't have made that debate. A candidate's bad behavior means the bad behavior becomes the focal point of the conversation. Because of that, we didn't have enough time for the conversations we really needed -- conversations about what we can do so family caregivers receive what they need. And, that's too bad.

Our conversations don't just veer off course during a presidential election, though.

Any time we hear, "Family caregivers need to take care of themselves," we focus on the wrong conversation. Our self-care (or lack thereof) is a symptom of the caregiving experience. The implied message of that statement ("Family caregivers need to take care of themselves") is that we choose not to care for ourselves. Why would we choose that? The talk around our self-care often means the spotlight isn't where it needs to be -- on the problems we face which affect our ability to care for ourselves.

We need to shine the light on the challenges which impede our ability to put ourselves first, an important criteria for self-care. We struggle to care for ourselves because we are so busy trying to keep our jobs, pay our bills, find and keep quality care, tip-toe around our explosive family dynamics and navigate the health care system we consistently visit which overlooks both our expertise and our well-being.

In essence, we're trying to survive to tomorrow so we do all we can to make it through today.

Our communities, work places and communities don't provide enough help and support for family caregivers. In our ongoing stress survey, family caregivers rate their stress level as 4.13 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most stressed. And, respondents say missing their lives causes their stress. They lose their life because caregiving responsibilities, worries and pressure takes up so much of the lives.  Without help and support, family caregivers can't take breaks they need so they can stay connected to their lives.

We're working to change that. We want to increase the help and support available for family caregivers by increasing funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. We also to remove the program's age restrictions so any and all family caregivers can tap into the program's services.

Help us make the change. Sign our petition, below.

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Denise, thank you for your continued perseverance to bring us into the spotlight. you nailed it as usual.