I’m in awe of caregivers.
I was in Langley last week, for the latest “Time Out for Caregivers” workshop, sponsored by Parkinson Society BC (you can access PDF of the presentation HERE).
I really have to commend PSBC for supporting these workshops, not just because it gives me the opportunity to contribute, but because there is this HUGE under serviced group of people (i.e. informal caregivers) who play a major role in the interdisciplinary healthcare team caring for older adult populations. And they go almost completely unrecognized by the government!
Caregivers never ask for help for themselves, but we need to start telling them that it’s ok to care for themselves, which can be anything from more social opportunities to making appointments for themselves, so that they are well-enough to provide care for their spouse or loved one.
During these workshops, I try and get them to think about the tough issues,
“what happens when PD progresses (i.e. changes to personality, mood, abilities), and how is this changing the quality of your relationship?” or
“have you made any plans for getting more help or institutionalization in the future?” and
“do you know what the steps are to get respite?“
… but also things like “how do you still go out and enjoy yourselves together?“
I was so impressed by the attendees at this last workshops (all 40 of them!!), they were so engaged in learning new tips on how to deal with symptoms and providing the best care and so open to sharing both their triumphs and struggles… but it’s very interested to hear caregivers frame their discussion around their spouses needs. Caregivers have the habit of contextualizing everything in what’s best for their care receiver. It made me realize, we have to start asking caregivers what they need for THEMSELVES, and get them to start thinking about their needs.
I hope that we have created a bit of an awareness around taking the time for themselves, because caregivers deserve it!
Parkinson’s awareness month is only 10 days away! … and look what I saw on my way to the workshop in Langley (at the locals Starbucks, no doubt)… how appropriate! much love