Why I like to work with women who take care of others?
Most of my life was dedicated to taking care of others. Given that I was born the second girl of a family of 9, I was expected to help out. I got praise for my kind and devoted heart but I often felt as though I was loved just because I was a good girl. If I wanted attention I needed to be there for others. As nature would have it, I became a nurse at the age of 19 and continued my mission of taking care of others and truly enjoyed my role as an caregiver, teacher, leader and manager.
Throughout my 40 years as a nurse and working in different health care settings, I had the pleasure of meeting many committed and compassionate professional and family caregivers. Each of their journey was unique but they all had that common thread of kindness, willingness, patience and dedication, which surrounded their commitment.
One thing that struck me is that many of these caregivers were stressed out and overwhelmed. They had a feeling of loss and depression as they became secondary to the one receiving the care. They indicated that they did not feel right asking for help thinking they could handle it all. It became obvious that burnout and compassion fatigue were slowly creeping in. I believe that caring for others is a healthy part of living in community with those we love and with whom we enjoy meaningful relationships with. However, there is another side of the continuum where we can encounter another set of behaviours that can sometimes appear healthy to outsiders, when in reality, they are not caring behaviours as much as caretaking behaviours.
Elizabeht Kupferman, counselor, explains that "caretaking is the hallmark of codependency and is rooted in insecurity and in a need to be in control, while caregiving is an expression of kindness and love. She explains that caretaking is a dysfuntional behaviour that can be changed. As with changing any behaviour, becoming aware is the first step to identifying where we are situated on the caregiving continuum.
If you feel more depleted, depressed and frustrated than inspired, re-energized, happy and fulffilled while taking care of another, you may be at the lower end of the continuum. If so, there is a way to connect back to yourself and meet your own personal needs and desires. It is well worth the struggle for both yourself and your loved one.
"In 2012, more than 8 million Canadians provided care to a chronically ill or disabled friend or loved one. Most caregivers provided care to parents. Most of these caregivers (70%) were also in the work force and many were women, balancing career and care. Using data from the 2012 General Social Survey (GSS) on Caregiving and Care Receiving, an estimated 54% of caregivers were women spending 20 or more hours per week on caregiving tasks".
Do you feel highjacked by depletion and depression?
I believe that all those who care for sick or disabled loved ones, are the invisible backbone of the health and long-term care system. We honour and recognize your contribution and the major role you play in our society. Becoming a family caregiver was not necessarily part of the plan. Instead, sudden and unexpected situation have thrust you into this role which may be for an extended period of time. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, even like a complete failure at times. If you feel like you have given up, you may be here searching for answers, searching for relief, trying to understand and trying to find out how to live after the worst has happened.
How I can help?
My mission is to play a crucial role in improving the wellness of caregivers through self-care, stress management and connection.
This process creates a ripple effect that transforms your journey by empowering you to place your welfare above the care of another and to empower the one cared for. I help you bring order into chaos by stepping back into your own power through loving kindness for youself and for your loved one. As a result, you will feel more energy and patience to meet your commitments with deeper bonding, a greater sense of purpose and eventually manage to turn "compassion fatigue" into "compassion satisfaction" and move from caretaking to caregiving. It is important to remember that health is all we have.
I'm a retired nurse and Certified Integrative Nutriton Health and Wellness Coach and a family cargiver myself. After 40 years of working in different sectors of the healthcare system and at different levels of leadership, I retired from my LTC Home Inspector position to follow a dream and passion, I’ve had for many years. As an agent of change with a strong desire to help improve the quality of life and health of others; I strongly feel I have something to offer to others, like me, who struggle on their caregiving journey. My goal is to to pull together women who need support to ease their journey with love, intelligence and caring. I focus on your bio-individuality and together we find solutions that fit your lifestyle and eating habits.
I'm a heart-centered natural teacher devoted to holistic integrative wellness and illness prevention. I love connecting with caregivers and helping them find balance and meaning in their caregiving journey. When it comes to vibrant living, I recommend being open to change, to new experiences and to breaking old behaviour patterns.