family,  Health

Embracing Caregivers #CareforaCarer

Are you a caregiver for someone with unique needs or health care challenges? I see you. I know you miss many social events, or family gatherings. Perhaps you stopped work entirely to care for someone you love. Or you switched to part time, freelance or contract. Chances are good you have missed your own doctor’s and dentist’s appointments. Maybe, you woke up so bone weary one morning you drove down the street without your glasses. Maybe you forgot to take your own medicine.

Photo via Unsplash by Remi Walle

How do I know any of this? Been there, done that. For years my life has been health care triage. Juggling an overwhelming number of specialist’s appointments, prescriptions and therapies means the one with the most acute needs gets dealt with first. Triage.

Years ago, my husband and I adopted two girls from the domestic foster care system. Our youngest has sensory processing disorder and FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Our oldest girl has generalized anxiety disorder. Both have attention deficit disorder diagnoses and I have Crohn’s Disease. I cared for my Mom too when her health began to deteriorate. Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease was also part of our daily life.


One of my hardest days as a caregiver, or carer, happened when I was trying to help my Mom do some shopping. Shopping was her favourite prior to her diagnosis. While tending to her needs, and keeping her safe in the community, my daughter’s school called saying she’d run away. When overwhelmed she’d leave or run away without regard for danger. So I raced my Mom back to her retirement home and ran directly to my daughter’s school to help look for her. Stressed out doesn’t begin to come close to explaining that feeling.

Being a caregiver, or carer, is as rewarding as it is stressful. There are precious moments I wouldn’t trade for anything. And there are moments that are the polar opposite of that. It’s a challenging unpaid job and it often makes you feel completely spent, financially, emotionally and physically.

Embracing Carers

Recently I learned about the Embracing Carers Initiative by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operating as EMD Serono in the US and Canada and I’m thrilled to share. Embracing Carers is a global initiative led in collaboration with leading carer organizations around the world. The goal is to increase awareness and discussion about needs of carers.

Carers is a term used to describe someone who provides unpaid assistance to someone in need. While many understand that carers play a crucial role in lives of patients, what’s less understood is the need for resources and support. Simply put, a carer’s own health often suffers as a result of the stress and demands of caring for someone else. Through working with carer organizations, and the multi-year Embracing Carers initiative, Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany hopes to change that improving lives for carers and patients.


Did you know?

Statistics show more women than men care for loved ones across the globe. That takes a toll on women’s health and wellbeing. Challenges associated with being a carer creates barriers to women’s ability to join and thrive in the workplace. The Embracing Carers initiative plays a key role in raising awareness of caregiving as a global public health priority.

Image by Paul Stickman via Unsplash

Embracing Carers is supported by leading international carer organizations including: the Caregiver Action Network, Carers Australia, Carers UK, Carers Worldwide, Eurocarers, the National Alliance for Caregiving, International Alliance of Carer Organizations and Shanghai Roots & Shoots, China. It has has support of many patient and physician groups around the world.

How Can You Help?

So what can you do to help?

  • Share this blog post.
  • Post messages of Hope intended for caregivers globally with #CareforaCarer.
  • And if you see #CareforaCarer on Twitter take a moment to hit Retweet.
  • If you belong to an organization or a business that supports carers or caregivers please share your positive programs or examples as well.

This post has been sponsored by Merck, which means I have been compensated. My opinion is all my own and it is also truthful. 

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Teresa

    You are certainly busy, I do hope you are looking after yourself a bit more. My son has SPD as well as some other issues and they can be taxing at times. I think mothers, naturally, just take care of others before themselves. It is our innate programing to nurture, eh?

  • R u s s

    I have so much respect for caregivers – for the time and all the hard work that they so lovingly share with others. I admire Embracing Carers and other organizations who support this cause because caregivers are unsung heroes.

    • Paula

      Thanks and I agree. It would be great if there was more support for caregiving across the board though. Nobody should have to choose between a job – livelihood and a loved one’s care. That is an impossible choice.

  • Jenn

    This is such a heartbreaking blog post. I know the information is true, and that makes me sick. This is a subject that needs to be focused on more for our future.

  • Joely Smith

    I am a caregiver myself and the way you described how it feels is spot on!! Often exhausted and keeping a smile on my face is difficult, to say the least, but we keep going forward! I love this initiative and am so glad they are doing this!!

  • Karolina

    I have a lot of respect for caregivers; many of them around me. I think it’s very hard to imagine what it means to be one if it doesn’t concern you, unfortunately. So awareness is necessary because sooner or later everyone will face the fact their loved ones need help.

  • Monica Parlee

    Being a caregiver can certainly come with a variety of challenges and you quickly become very adept at multitasking. I’m not at all surprised that women make up the majority of caregivers, just about every caregivers that I have known has been female.

    • Paula

      Thank you for taking time to comment Monica and for sharing about this phenomenon as well. I know it’s true. I have known maybe one or two unpaid male caregivers

  • Monica Y

    I have plenty of respect for caregivers. I hope you get to take some time to rest and recharge batteries in between. I really think all caregivers should get pay, but if you are not being paid, at least try to take some time off and plan a trip or a vacation. Caregivers are so important. They do the job most people do not want to do. Good luck to you.

  • Olivia

    Oh wow Paula. I knew you were busy, but I had no idea you had so much going on in your family. Did you see the new Family Caregiver benefit for adults starting December 3?

  • Nadalie Bardowell

    Wow this post has been very informative and serves as a reminder that not all heroes wear capes. My mother cares for her step mother for years and hired PSW’s to work with my grandma when my mom had to work. She took care of my grandmother, mentally, physically, and financially. I really respect her for that.

  • Censie Sawyer

    YEs. This post hits home. I cared for my husband when he had a life changing surgery a few years ago. Thankfully he is back to work now. It is taxing. And I Have seen my grandmother and mother do the same. Women take it all on! We are strong but we do need to remember to take care of our selves as well.

  • Aileen Adalid

    This is such an informative post! I come from a country who produces a lot of manpower who are caregivers and I have relatives who are caregivers themselves. Sometimes we always need that little extra help!

  • Louisa

    Caregivers are super important. As a health care professional, I can imagine how hard it must be for caregivers sometimes. And putting the health of those they care about before their own is not uncommon. Caregivers deserve to be recognized because of the significant role they play in the quality of life they provide for those they care for.