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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Book News: Coaching for Caregivers by Yosaif August
6 Tips for Embracing Caregivers
at Holiday Gatherings
increase stress for everyone, especially caregivers. A new APA study
found that more than 6 out of 10 Americans report significantly more
stress during the holidays (Here's thelink.)
need to find ways to manage their stress this holiday season and
family and friends can use their holiday gatherings to help them do
this. But first they need to open the door to a conversation with the
caregiver about how they are doing. Here are tips for them to get
this conversation going and allowing the love and support to flow.
Begin a respectful, productive conversation with the caregiver
without invading their privacy.
a private time and place and ask permission to discuss their
caregiving situation. For example: “I want to check in with you
about how caregiving is going and
(not but!) I don’t want to
intrude. Can we talk?” There’s no guarantee about how this
inquiry will land and what kind of response you’ll get; however,
respecting their space by asking for permission to speak about this
is a love and support in its own right.
Agree about whether this conversation – or part of it - is
confidential or not.
is important in engendering enough trust that the person feels safe
sharing what is truly going on for them.
Ask questions about the caregiver's well-being and be a good
conversation is about being truly present. The best way to see if
your help is desired or even appropriate is by your attentively
listening and not being too quick to get into problem solving. Ask
one or two broad and general questions and then let it happen. For
example: “Tell me how it’s going.” “What’s it like for you
these days?” “I so much admire all of what you’re doing; how
are you managing to do it?”
Honor and affirm the caregiver for their generosity, perseverance,
is one of the most generous acts we can ever be called upon to do –
even if we are doing it ambivalently , reluctantly, resentfully, out
of sense of guilt etc. We are being called upon to put another’s
needs ahead of our own and to be willing to interrupt other
priorities we are tending to in our lives. It also calls upon other
qualities that may indeed reflect our deepest held values. In fact,
it calls upon these even if we’re doing if for some of the less
noble reasons I mention above. So, if the spirit of the conversation
permits it, offer some affirmation of the way you see that person
truly walking their values in the ways they are caregiving.
Explore ways to share the care and be part of the caregiver's circle
the conversation goes in this direction, ask what you could do in the
following week that would lighten their burden in a practical way.
You might offer to have a follow up conversation soon to find some
follow up ways of helping – directly and also in helping them
strengthen their network of support.
Offer to help them explore the possibilities of using a caresite.
is a term I’ve coined for the free
websites that are available on the web to help famiIy caregivers let
people know what is going on, what they need, when/how they need it,
and also to receive loving affirmations and prayers from people who
care about them. The most popular caresites
are Caring Bridge, Lotsa Helping
Hands and CarePages. If this prospect sounds intriguing to them, set
up a time to sit by their side and do some exploration of these
on the web. Let them know if you would be willing to help them choose
and set up a caresite
or help them find someone else who can do it. (The current experts
these days seem to be people who are 12 years old!).
big message this holiday season? This all about relationship and
connection. Caregivers can not do this alone. You can use the warmth
of your holiday gathering to open up the healing possibilities that
are right in front of you.