If you hadn’t yet heard, this is one of the major headlines for our November celebration of National Family Caregiver Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It is a perennial headline that doesn’t always make the news. Every year, there is no more critical issue for caregivers than this one. The health effects suffered by long-term caregivers, especially dementia-caregivers, because they didn’t make time for their own self-care, often results in new chronic illness diagnoses or even new graves (for some dementia-caregivers).
It is because of my own personal experience with this that I’ve become an expert on the topic and regularly offer short educational and enrichment programs on the topic. I offered such a program this past week at a local retreat center and it didn’t run due to low enrollment. “The program didn’t run due to low enrollment.” This is old and tired news among veteran program producers for long-term-caregivers. The fact that this week’s program did not run has me question if I should continue to offer this type of program, at this location, in this format. It helps me to better understand why there are not more caregiver programs visibly running regularly in the local community. It softens my social critique of healthcare and government systems that have in large part failed to reach local family caregivers with life-saving teaching and support.
That said, I know the need is there for my “Family Caregivers Take Time” program. It is validated by years and years of academic research and social workers who listen daily to the cares of the caregivers. It is validated by the participants of the many programs I’ve led before, including those who attended this program at this center one year ago. Lastly it is validated by the tears, wounds, and lives of long-term and dementia-caregivers suffering now and those silent, if not weeping, if not screaming, in their graves.
For now, I will simply continue writing my version of the “Family Caregivers Take Time” book, knowing that the message has greater chance of delivery via print and/or e-book.
Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,