Thank you for checking out our Care-FULL Conversation Resources.  The videos are to provide information to help benefit the caregiver and care receiver.

When It Hurts to Care: Compassion Fatigue

As professional or personal caregivers, we witness the suffering of others – physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. To witness the pain and suffering of others is to be forever changed. Compassionate people bear the suffering of others and often times compromise their own health and well being when they assume too much of the burden. We must always be aware of where we end and the other person begins – the importance of boundaries. We can companion others in life, but we cannot assume the responsibility for another’s life. To do so puts us at risk of experiencing compassion fatigue, a risk for all who care.

 

The Relevance of Ritual

Is ritual relevant in the 21st century? Is ritual really worth the bother? In order to answer these questions, we need a basic understanding of the Whys and Hows of conducting ritual—particularly end-of-life ritual. The purpose of ritual is timeless—the integration of the mind, body, and spirit during times that defy explication. Through the process of composing, conducting, and experiencing meaningful rites, we gradually integrate loss into the fabric of our being. By so doing, we confront the reality of our mortality and gain an enhanced appreciation of LIFE! So yes, ritual IS relevant. Ritual IS worth the bother.

 

The Blessings of Boundaries

When caring for another person, it is important to establish and to maintain mutually beneficial boundaries. Boundaries define the nature of relationships, personal responsibilities, and expectations for both the caregiver and care receiver. By initially delineating the limits of caregiving, we know what is ours to own and what is not. Boundaries are an essential aspect of self care—a blessing indeed!

 

Attitude is Everything!

As the journey of life unfolds, we experience the bittersweet nature of the adventure. The path twists and turns presenting unexpected potholes, detours, and vistas. No one is guaranteed “smooth sailing.” However, our ability to successfully navigate the rough waters posed by life depends on our attitude. Viktor Frankl taught an entire generation that we cannot control everything that happens in life. However, we always have the freedom to choose an attitude in response to life. And that choice ultimately determines our experience of life. Do you choose to be a victim of life and succumb to the perceived inequities? Or, will you courageously accept the reality of your situation and seek life-giving possibilities? Consider your answer carefully. Your life depends on it!

 

Called to Care

Having served as a personal and professional caregiver, I understand the journey of caregiving from the inside out. I know that companioning others through the ups and downs of aging and illness is challenging….to say the least. However, I also believe that caring for another is a sacred journey if we are able to balance the blessings with the burdens. From my own experience, sometimes the gifts of caregiving are not recognized until many years after the fact.

 

Self Care is NOT Optional

When caring for others, we must not forget to care for ourselves. In order to care well, we must be well. Many caregivers feel guilty about taking a little time off to rest, relax, and renew. However, self care is mandatory to maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. Self care is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

 

Resistance to Assistance

Description:  Jane Barton discusses the major challenge in the caregiving journey is overcoming the tendency of most people to resist the assistance of others. It is so hard to ask for and to receive help from family members, friends, and professional caregivers. We feel vulnerable, out of control, and helpless. However, resistance to assistance can actually be hazardous to our health if we refuse to seek the help required to live safely. 

 

Prepare to Care

Description:  Jane Barton will address the benefits of being proactive instead of reactive in the caregiving journey. It is not IF we will need care or be called to care, it is WHEN. So instead of living on caffeine and adrenaline during times of crisis, consider who, what, when, where, why, and how of caregiving based on your frame of reference (family situation, geographic location, available community resources, financial assets, etc.). We are not clairvoyant…..but we can develop a basic approach to care that will serve to guide us WHEN the need arises.

 

Planning for LIFE

Description:  We’ll chat about the process of Advance Care Planning from a different perspective. Consider the question, “How do you choose to LIVE until your not?” And specific to the LGBT community, have you legally designated and documented the person or persons who will be responsible for your care? I won’t go into the various legal forms included in Advance Directives. Rather, I am going to stress the importance that if our wishes are to become our reality at the end of life, we need to have the conversations and document our wishes. This is the greatest gift we can offer those whom we love.

 

The Last One Standing

Description:  Who will care for me when I am the last one standing? What if I outlive my family of origin, my life partner, my children, and my closest friends? How will I plan for that possibility? What resources are available? And, is this a motivation to invest myself in relationships throughout life? As relational beings, we need companions throughout the journey of life.

 

Who Will Care for Me?

Description:  A concern noted on the report was a lack of family support throughout the caregiving journey. Often, individuals within the LGBT community are estranged from their family of origin. So, family is defined differently…..trusted friends and colleagues. Hence, we have to be more intentional about creating family and confirming that there is a commitment to care for each other.

 

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