Thanks for reading my “Fit at 50” series of posts, written for the benefit of long-term caregivers. Hopefully I’ve validated some aspects of your experience, and encouraged positive path(s) forward. The New Year is a good time to set an intention and take a first step. Please share with any friend who is also in a process of recovering from losses and trauma, especially if that friend has served as an unpaid family caregiver.
Unpaid family caregivers provide 80 percent of long-term-care services: dressing, feeding, assisting ambulation or pushing a wheelchair or stroller, assisting in the restroom/at the toilet, assisting with bathing, and assisting with care planning and end-of-life decision making. Learn more: Caregiver Action Network/The National Family Caregivers Association. Caregiving long-term is associated with long-term negative health impacts, well documented in the academic research literature. Dementia caregiving and FTD caregiving have some of the most negative health impacts.
Why? Unpaid family caregivers are on 24/7. They do not have work shifts to go to or to come home from. They rarely take time off. Sometimes, the family caregiver is the only person available to assist a very vulnerable care-receiver. If this is the case, experts highly recommend that this person get support. National support is available at the nonprofit organization named above, but also locally in most towns/cities/states.
At Rest.Stop.Ranch, the little nonprofit I founded and direct in Topsfield, MA, USA, we offer five year-round support programs, and two seasonal support programs:
- Year-Round, Individual Support (Spiritual-Care), by appointment.
- Year-Round, Group Support, meets 2x/mo.
- Year-Round, Memory Café, meets 1x/mo.
- Year-Round, Get Dirty in the Garden, volunteers meet 1x/wk.
- Year-Round, Student Interns (Professional, College, and High School).
- Seasonal, Sunday Stroll, meets 1s/mo.
- Seasonal, Flower Festivals, meet 3x/wk, April – July.
Due to COVID, November- March, our support programs are virtual. April – December, our 3 wheelchair-accessible garden trails offer essential respite and recreation to care-partners and care-receivers. All events are by reservation in 2021.
Inspirational/Recommended Reading: Bill Torbert and Assoc., “Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership.”