As promised, in our Zoom session on 24th June we got to discuss Do-able Caring.
It was fascinating to hear about the variety of things we each do to support our family members who require additional care. These things relate to the strengths and the needs of the people we are each caring for.
The value of “doing with” the person we care for rather than “doing for” him/her was considered. Doing things for our loved one can be an efficiency measure but when the person has some capacity to be involved in the doing of activities, our over-helpfulness can end up undermining their dignity, their rights and their personhood. There was mention of the joy of seeing our loved one becoming able to take on doing for themselves that we used to have to do for them as they developed their capacities with our support over time. Examples included making plans and phone calls. The option of doing with our loved one rather than always doing for them was discussed – with its’ challenges and benefits.
We could see how we ourselves have grown in the carer role over time and got better and perhaps more efficient with what we do. We also acknowledged that meeting our loved one’s emotional needs was not an area where we could be efficient. There was a shared sense of becoming more sensitive in attuning to our loved one’s emotions and more skilled in learning what to do in that space – being able to meet our loved one where he/she is at and then lead the emotional tone of our interactions from there – is both an art and a challenge in the “doing” of the family carer role.
It seemed too that as carers our role has a lot of responsibility around finding the middle ground that balances the needs of everyone in the family, not just the needs of the person with disability/special support needs. This keeps it all very real. We have to be aware of what can be achieved in the available time, and think from a mini-community place.
Sometimes, for some families, there is an opportunity to co-operate to assist a loved one to achieve her/his goals. One example of this that was shared was how a goal of pet ownership could become do-able through family cooperation and contribution from several family members. Not to say that pet ownership is everyone’s goal, but if you consider your loved one’s goals then the concept of combining resources and sharing the family carer role across family members is an approach that can keep the caring “do-able” in some families.
This was another encouraging conversational session in the series, and we are, as ever, ready to warmly welcome other family carers who may be available to join a Zoom conversation on any of the Wednesdays during June and July – simply register for free for your available dates via Eventbrite (where you can read more about the conversational series); so that I can email to you the Zoom link to connect into the conversation on Zoom.
Our next conversation is on Wednesday 1st July, when we will be discussing “Sustainable Caring”. As is usual, Cherie will bring some information that invites a focus and flow in the conversation.
These conversations are hosted by Cherie Rowett of Heart Choice Enterprises. Cherie’s commitment is to lead a themed conversation online every Wednesday during June and July, in this series titled “Talking about Caring – Family Carers in Conversation”.