It is not just the loved ones who need succor but often those tendering care need love, too.
No matter how much love and goodwill we offer to a family member — child or elderly — or friend, sometimes, even without being aware, the gift of caring can become an unexpected burden. Coping with and dealing with and “Learning From Caretaking a Loved One(s)” is the next panel discussion in the Healing Series presented at the Center for Natural Learning. The session begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.
“It not that people begrudge being givers, but we all have only so much,” Carol McClintic, director of programs, said, summarizing the next discussion.
“These [caregivers] can get worn out very quickly and be unaware of it because of what they’re doing,” said McClintic. “People who learned to be caregivers have to be aware of their own lives, too. They need to bring balance to their lives. When giving care, it is easy to become overburdened.”
To take care of a loved one, one must also take care of oneself, McClintic stressed. “You often are giving more than you actually have the capacity [to give].”
Caretaking, which is just what has to be done, and caregiving, to do from the heart and willingness to do it, can be conscious or unconscious choices. A parent will spend decades feeding, clothing and protecting a child.
But today, as the boomers age, more people find themselves caring for a parent, spouse or loved one with similar intensity and time demands. “How do we do this without giving up our soul or being?” is the question McClintic believes the panel will help the audience understand and answer for themselves.
Next week, Susan Lydon, Sheila Kloss, Doug Austin and Geoffrey Caine will share their caregiving experiences and tribulations while taking care of a loved one.
“The whole point of the series is that healing is not just experts and books,” Renate Caine, executive director and director of research, said, when describing the purpose of the panels. “Everybody on the panel has experience with this problem and they will share what they have learned. We hear from them in ways which people can identify with.”
“They will tell their story on how they became caretakers or givers,” McClintic said of the panelists. “How do they manage their life and another’s?”
Besides a discussion of finding balance for one’s self, McClintic expects the panel to address questions that frequently confront the providers of care. For example, how does one know when to give or to allow the other person to help themselves?
“It’s an opportunity to learn from others who have a similar experience,” Caine has said. “These people are living archives and have learned to handle these problems.”
The panelists will be very honest about their experiences. Caine and McClintic encourage the audience to ask questions that will help them learn about solutions and ways to cope, and to share their stories with all those in attendance. Questions also may be submitted directly to [email protected]