For about four decades I’ve worked in healthcare corporations large and small. Over those years I’ve served as a bed-side nurse, worked in administrative, consulting and educational roles, taught as a faculty member and served as a mentor to many colleagues. I’ve been married (and divorced and remarried) and have been privileged to travel to nearly every State and a few countries. Now, I get to do what I want most to do – my heart work – to help other people who face the stressors of being a caregiver.
Here’s what I know. . .
All my training, degrees, credentials and knowledge amount to nothing unless I use them to be of service to others. But, to help to others, I first had to learn to be a genuine friend to myself! Nursing school didn’t teach me how to do that and neither did the years of graduate studies that followed college. Late in life I learned a few truths that now carry me through every day of my life. They are:
- We all have needs and when our needs are unacknowledged, they create pain
- No one can relieve our pain if we don’t acknowledge our needs and practice self-care
- Self-care is the necessary foundation for the genuine care of other people.
In 2013 my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, in addition to my role as a professional nurse, I became a family caregiver. My training and education were great preparation for addressing his physical needs but did not prepare me at all for the personal and emotional pain that accompanies the increasing disability of a loved one. Watching the person I love is in a steady process of loss is painful. That pain is compounded by the powerlessness to change what is happening.
What I’ve learned is, when you can’t change your circumstances, you must change yourself!
That is what my work is all about, helping other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.
Please, let me know how I can help you! I welcome your call or e-mail.