We're a Speciality Deserving of Specialists
We're a Speciality Deserving of Specialists
(This is the seventh article in a series about the trends in caregiving experience that bubbled up during our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference or NCC18.)
After you've been in a caregiving experience for a period of time, you quickly learn to assess who will understand your situation and who won't. You share the difficult details with another who understands because they've been there. You gloss over the impact of the experience with another who you know will "should" on you or minimize your experience or simply run because it's just too much.
Unfortunately, our silence can create more problems. If we stay silent at work, for instance, our employers may believe their employees aren't impacted by caregiving experiences so will dismiss suggestions of offering caregiving-friendly benefits. If we stay silent in our houses of worship, our congregations may pass on an opportunity to organize a caregiving support group. If we stay silent in our communities, our elected officials may not represent our voice when crafting and voting on legislation.
The challenge becomes opening up to those we can trust.
What we need during our caregiving experience is a caregiving specialist.
We need to connect with a professional who will understand rather than judge, who will listen rather than boss and who will stay rather than disappear. We need to connect to a Certified Caregiving Consultant™, which is why I believe every organization needs a CCC. Our CCCs receive specialized training on how to communicate with those stressed and worried individuals who care for a family member. Through our training, the CCCs learn the lost art of listening and how to establish a deep, trusting connection with another. Because of that trusted connection, a CCC can make appropriate referrals and suggestions that truly help a family caregiver.
At NCC18, attendees shared what it was like to gather for a weekend which includes regular and ongoing contact with our CCCs, many of whom lead presentations and panel discussions:
Wonderful, safe environment established. Great to be with so many people who truly understand what life is like as a caregiver.
It was amazing. I had lost the last person/my mother in close proximity to the conference. While I wasn't sure if it made sense to attend the conference, it ended up being a very helpful and healing process to do so. Thank you Denise and everyone I encountered over the two days. You helped.
WOW! How jammed packed full of awesome sessions this was. I wish I had at least 2 more days there to be able to take it all in. There was so much to learn! I felt like I was back in high school changing classes again and it felt wonderful. I met so many incredible people/caregivers. I shared like I’ve never shared before.
I think of an attendee who joins us every year at the conference. The first year she attended she could barely look up from the weight of the caregiving stress. This year, the third year she attended, she lit up every room with her smile.
During caregiving, we experience so much that only those who truly get it can listen without judgement or shock or freaking out. Our caregiving experience requires interactions with professionals who have a personal understanding and professional training. When we feel safe sharing our story, we release so much of the pent-up emotions that can eat away from us. When we talk it out honestly, we can feel understood, that we belong, that we can keep hope. When we share honestly about what we need, we can get closer to receiving it.
When our workplaces, houses of worship and communities connect us with caregiving specialists, like CCCs, the stress on us and in the systems lessens. Working family caregivers can better manage the stress and responsibility because they release and receive when they connect with a CCC (which would be an awesome employer-paid benefit). Managers don't have to feel alone in supporting their working family caregivers because they can rely on the support of the CCCs. Even better, employers better understand the needs of working family caregivers because the CCCs can speak on behalf of those working family caregivers.
Congregations can offer programs and services that best help their worshipping family caregivers because the CCC shares what those family caregivers need and want. Legislators stay tuned into the needs of their constituents who care for family members because the CCCs advocate effectively on their behalf. (My special series, Imagine, shares more of my ideas.)
Think about it: The heath care system has lactation specialists. Employee benefit firms connect employees with health coaches for illnesses like diabetes. Houses of worships offer services tailored for young families. Doctors choose specialties, like pediatrics and neurology. Why isn't an experience like caregiving also a specialty?
Now more than ever, I see our specialty. I see the importance of specialized programs, like our National Caregiving Conference, and specialized professionals, like our CCCs. The organizations who embrace the speciality will benefit from loyal, committed employees, supporters and customers.
As we care for our family members, we do very special work every day. We deserve very special solutions. We deserve interactions with professionals trained in our specialty.
Miss our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference? We recorded all our sessions so that you don’t miss any of the important conversation that occurred during our sessions.
“I work with families facing very complex, difficult care-giving situations, and very much appreciate the sophistication and depth of all the presentations I attended,” shared a conference attendee. “Thanks so very much for this wonderful conference.”
Purchase your package of NCC18 recordings which includes my presentation, The Future of Caregiving, a panel discussion Caregiving Visionary Award winners, and our Caregiving and the Workplace Summit.
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