SESSION#5 – “Talking about Caring – Family Carers in Conversation”

The theme for conversation in our Zoom session on 1st July was Sustainable Caring….

Today we discussed whether it is important for the carer role to be sustainable and what we can do to keep it sustainable.

Current definitions of sustainability usually link to global environmental care…which we found applicable to family caring too really – for just as sustainability of life on our Planet Earth is concerned with avoiding depletion of natural resources to maintain ecological balance, so as family carers we find ourselves striving to balance our [caring for self] with our [caring for our loved one with special needs + for other family members + for friends] to avoid depletion of our caring reserves.

At times, the importance of keeping the carer role sustainable has even been reflected back to us from our family member with special needs.  They value us first and foremost as a family member (eg a parent, a sister, a son) and want us there in that treasured role for the long haul. 

Interestingly with the topic of sustainability, the issue of accountability then arose in our conversation.  One of the carers suggested that we need to make ourselves accountable for our self care, expressing it beautifully:- “How can we spread kindness when sometimes we are not even kind to ourselves?”

We discussed approaches we find useful for being accountable for our own wellbeing, especially for nurturing our mindset and our mind-body connection, and for keeping ourselves physically nourished during the day.  Routines were mentioned as helpful in managing the time resource around this, especially to try to incorporate some self care early in the day before we might become too tired for it. An approach of ‘sufficiency’ was mentioned – knowing when enough is enough and not needing to cater for anymore than our needs – there was agreement that can help keep our self-care do-able and sustainable if we think in terms of sufficiency.

As well as accountability for our own self care, we also found ourselves talking about how helpful it is to observe demonstrable caring attitudes and actions amongst our world leaders. We are pleased when world figures are renowned for their caring approach to their work as that reminds everyone of the value of caring. An example that arose in our conversation was Jacinda Ahern the current NZ prime minister: when we observe her approach to her leadership we feel encouraged and reminded of the difference a caring attitude and actions can make. It feels like it can have a ripple effect that encourages people everywhere to keep caring going at the local community and interpersonal level.  

In the spirit of time accountability we then honoured our 1 hour allocation for the conversation by deferring mention of ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ into our conversation next week which will focus on Creative Caring.  We do hope you can join us then.

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 Cherie can email to you the Zoom link to connect into the conversation.

Our next conversation is on Wednesday 8th July, when we will be discussing “Creative Caring”.

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”.

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