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.
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.
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.
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.