Discover more from Keeping It REAL Caregiving
Work/life balance, Paid Family Leave & Fellowship Opportunity
Hey, let's catch up? Sunday, July 11, 2023
Hello KIRC fam!
I do hope all of you are taking good care of not only your loved ones, but ALSO - yourselves!
It is easy for us caregivers to think we have an unlimited supply of energy, focus, and grit. If you are anything like me, you tend to believe YOU and you alone are responsible for the well-being (emotional and physical), safety, and happiness of those around you. Does that resonate?
Well, guess what? We aren’t. We can each play a role in helping and informing others, but we alone can’t do it all.
This KIRC journey has taught me some heartfelt lessons that I encourage all of you to consider as you move through your caregiving experience.
No Going Solo
We can’t truly take care of others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves
This is especially true when you are in the ‘thick of it.’ I encourage you to strive to get enough rest. If that means napping while your loved one naps (when possible), do so. New parents with babies do it - let’s take a page from their books! Think about it. If you get sick or hurt, how in the world are you going to take care of your loved one? Research indicates caregivers face an increased risk of developing their own health challenges and emotional hurdles. Carving out moments for yourself may literally become a matter of life or death (for you!) That includes scheduling regular medical checkups for yourself, not only the person you are caring for.
You are not SUPERWOMAN or SUPERMAN
We’ve discussed this before, but we can never hear it enough. Let me ask you something - do you believe you are the ONLY person who can handle care needs of the person in your charge? Maybe, just maybe… we have to learn to let go of some of the control just a little bit.
Now, when it comes to complex medical care, you MAY be the only one with hands-on training. But ask yourselves… could a friend run to the grocery store for you? Could another relative step in to tackle chores or sit with your loved one? Have you allowed yourself the luxury of actually ASKING FOR HELP from those in your circle? You might be surprised at how willing others are to step in and lend a hand.
Share your reality with others
In the two years since launching Keeping It REAL Caregiving, I have witnessed an increased groundswell of awareness, education, and advocacy surrounding caregiving. Why? Because more of us are speaking up, sharing our stories, and demanding the systems around us support this reality.
If you even remotely believe you will be a family caregiver, now is the time to find out what if any support programs your employer has in place.
This is a perfect time to review Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) options at the federal level and also learn what your state offers. For instance, California offers Paid Family Leave for Caregivers, but there are limits and guidelines, so it is best to educate yourself before you need help.
If you even remotely believe caregiving duties will impact your work, now is the time to have that open and honest conversation with your employer. Think about it: parents of young children are not shy about speaking up saying, “Look, if I don’t have care options for my child, then I can’t simply leave them and come to work. We have to create solutions.” As family caregivers we must do the same.
Because Keeping It REAL Caregiving is now part of the larger statewide efforts of the California Coalition on Family Caregiving AND a member of the Equity in Aging Advisory Committee for the California Department of Aging, we DO have the ability to leverage our collective voices.
Call to Action
Let me hear from you! What are your top three concerns about letting your employer know you are a caregiver? Are there some questions you would like answered regarding what steps you should take?
I’ll work get answers for you AND if enough of you respond, we can craft a template letter we can all then submit to our local legislative leaders.
Don’t want to submit here? Not to worry! Be sure to connect with me at my Facebook Page - Julia Yarbough Media Group.
Want a more personal interaction with other caregivers? Request an invite to join our PRIVATE FB Keeping It REAL Caregiving.
You can also email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Self Care & Creator Reality
The never-ending reality of work/life balance is one of the reasons I haven’t connected with all of you in a bit. I’ve been taking some of my own advice with a dose of self care and regrouping.
Still, my goal with KIRC is to help others with practical information every caregiver should know. I learned so much while caring for my mother, that I truly believe it is my duty to share.
But, this is a one-woman newsroom effort. There is no paycheck or grant money coming in (although I am working on changing that). So while my heart wants to stay on top of all manner of caregiving news, information, guidance and scheduling/hosting events for those who could benefit, the reality is this: my full-time career as a communications coach, evolved from a broadcast news journalist, is the priority.
*NOTE: Thank you for supporting the efforts of Keeping It REAL Caregiving. We (meaning, me) invite you to consider upgrading to a paid subscription. My goal is to bridge the gap between high-level policy, and the day-to-day ‘need to know’ items for family caregivers. The work is currently 100% supported by subscriptions and donations. THANK YOU to those of you who have purchased a paid subscription!
American Society on Aging ASA Rise Fellowship 2023
What is ASA Rise? The American Society on Aging outlines it as follows:
The field of aging needs more leaders of color—and a modern, sustainable leadership program to support them. Aging in the United States has never been an equitable experience across the barriers of economic and social justice. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that those who can best drive the change we need are often the people who were raised, live and work in the communities most affected by these inequities. And so, much too often, the same inequities and lack of justice that require our response are those that prevent the most qualified people from having access to lead that response.
KIRC (me) took part in the first 2022 ASA Rise Fellowship cohort. It was an amazing learning experience, offering new insight, connections within the field of aging, and a broader understanding of how much work is yet to be done.
You can apply NOW with a deadline of July 15, 2023.
For all the information, visit here: https://www.asaging.org/asa-rise
Just joining the KIRC tribe? Stop by www.keepingitREALCaregiving.com to watch our videos or listen to podcast episodes. And, be sure to check out our SUBSTACK ARCHIVES to find useful caregiving tips, DIY, and REAL stories from others.
Until next time~