Island Senior: Taking Care of Caregivers

Posted September 17, 2021 at 2:38 pm by

Tak­ing Mom to the Beach — pho­to Peg­gy Sue McRae

Car­ing for our loved ones when the need aris­es is a chal­lenge in the best of times. Dur­ing a pan­dem­ic the chal­lenges only increase. Care­givers face increased iso­la­tion while also fac­ing the increas­ing chal­lenge of keep their charge safe.

Start­ing on Sep­tem­ber 30, Gail Les­chine-Seitz, Aging and Fam­i­ly Case Coor­di­na­tor, and Deb­bie Haa­gensen, Senior Ser­vices Spe­cial­ist, will be teach­ing a free course, Tak­ing Care of You: Pow­er­ful Tools for Care­givers. The class will be avail­able ONLINE via Zoom. Ses­sions will be on Thurs­days from 1:30 – 3:00pm, (Sept 30, Oct 14, Oct 21, Oct 28, and Nov 4). 

The Course will help care­givers devel­op self-care tools like; reduc­ing stress, chang­ing neg­a­tive self-talk, com­mu­ni­cat­ing your needs, deal­ing with chal­lenges, mak­ing tough deci­sions, and set­ting goals. Plus, if you are an unpaid fam­i­ly care­giv­er there may be addi­tion­al resources avail­able to you.

We all know some­one who is tak­ing care of a loved one. My friend Adri­enne Adams who recent­ly lost her beloved part­ner had some prac­ti­cal advise for friends offer­ing sup­port. She says, “Take, for exam­ple, the ubiq­ui­tous “Call me if you need any­thing!” offer: it’s intend­ed to show sup­port, but it’s much too vague to be of much help.

When you’re in the thick of it—especially if it’s a chron­ic ill­ness or ter­mi­nal diagnosis—the care­giv­er is usu­al­ly over­whelmed and real­ly can’t take the time to man­age offers of help.” 

 Adri­enne rec­om­mends tak­ing stock of what you real­ly are able to give and being spe­cif­ic regard­ing WHAT and WHEN you will give it. For example…

–“I can deliv­er and stack a cord of fire­wood this weekend.”

–“I can dri­ve you to off-island med­ical appoint­ments. My days off are Sun­days and Mon­days. Do you need an updat­ed pri­or­i­ty-load­ing pass? I can pick it up for you.”

–“I can come over this week and do some light house­keep­ing: vac­u­um­ing, clean the bath­room, clean the fridge. What days would be best for you?

Be real­is­tic about what you can give, even if its only 20 min­utes. Giv­ing a care­tak­er a break so they can leave their charge and do an errand or just get out­side is help­ful. When I was car­ing for my Mom I remem­ber how hav­ing some­one stay with her for just 20 min­utes meant I could check my mail and pick up a cof­fee. That real­ly helped break up some long days.

Again from Adrienne:

–“Would you like to come over for tea this Wednes­day or Thurs­day? You are going through a lot and it must be real­ly hard. I’m a good lis­ten­er! If you need a respite vis­it I can help you arrange that so you can get out of the house. This last one is the biggest, and most beau­ti­ful gift you can give some­one who is care­giv­ing.” Be a good listener. 

To reg­is­ter for the six-week course, Car­ing for the Care­giv­er, please call 350–370-7528 or email <>. This course is sup­port­ed by North­west Region­al Council

Thoughts on Sup­port­ing Care­givers by Adri­enne Adams – is post­ed in com­plete form on the Mullis Cen­ter Face­book Page. 


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One comment...

  1. I took advan­tage of this course when it was offered ear­li­er this year and found it to be extreme­ly help­ful in sev­er­al ways…mostly with the prop­er way to com­mu­ni­cate. Feel­ing bet­ter pre­pared was worth the time commitment.

    Comment by withheld by request on September 19, 2021 at 7:45 am

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