While I truly enjoy working with a diversity of issues, I have a particular interest in working with Caregivers.  To me, there appear to be 3 different but interrelated and often overlapping groups of Caregivers: Family Caregivers, Professional Caregivers and Activist Caregivers.  I have personally been a part of each of these groups as a mother of a child with complex needs, as a teacher and counsellor, and as a peace and social justice activist. Here is how I see each of these caregiver groups:

Family Caregivers are people who care for family members with extraordinary needs such as a child with an illness or disability or an elderly parent or spouse.  The health and well being of family caregivers is integral to the health and well being of those they care for.  While there are gifts that come with the role of Family Caregiver, there are also risk factors that come with the stress and lack of appropriate resources for themselves and their loved ones.  These risk factors include decline in physical health, social isolation and depression.

Professional Caregivers are people who work in the helping professions such as Education, Health-Care, Community Development and Inclusion, etc. People in the helping professions are faced with ever-increasing caseloads and drastically shrinking budgets, leaving little room for getting their important work done well. It is no wonder so many feel overburdened and under appreciated. 

Activist Caregivers are those who care for others at the systems level.  Social and environmental justice activists, for example, would be considered Activist Caregivers.  It is challenging work, usually for no pay, over and above regular work and often involves facing horrific situations and frightening future scenarios. While we cannot all claim to be activists, we all need to strengthen our capacity to respond effectively to the planetary crisis we are facing.

The role of any caregiver comes with positive benefits as well as challenges, and these challenges can at times be overwhelming and difficult. If you or someone you know is a caregiver who is struggling, I’d love to help.