Family caregivers provide 80% of care. We are often invisible and rarely acknowledged. Let's not even speak of the lack of financial compensation or assistance.
Caregiver burnout is a very real phenomenon in no small part because there is no formal training for Family Caregiving. We get dropped into it and we're on our own to sort it out.
We can wait for society and our government representatives or agencies to start to acknowledge our contributions and jump in to help us out... Or we can take charge ourselves.
I'd like to suggest 3 main aspects to a 'Radical Caregiving Manifesto'.
1. The Personal Radical caregivers take the advice of airlines everywhere - we put on our own oxygen masks first. Period.
Our physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health is critical to our ability to look after others. And we don't let anyone else suggest or tell us otherwise.
Not society, not friends, not family and not the person for whom we are caring. Sure, there will be times when we 'go all out', but we make these decisions consciously.
2. The Public Radical caregivers share realities of our situation with family, friends and acquaintances. We take this opportunity to raise awareness and ask for help.
Part of our responsibility in sharing is to let others know that they are not alone.
3. The Political The caregiver role will only increase as medical care becomes more complex and our population ages.
Government representatives need to understand the impact that mistreating Family Caregivers has on individuals, families, communities and the economy.
They need to hear from us: Not just at election times, but all the time.
What is your Caregiving story? How can you use it to help empower yourself, raise awareness and encourage political change?
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