Friday, 22 November 2019
Care Partner Wednesday--Surprising, Little Known Ways To Find Your Tribe
I tucked the carefully crafted letter in backpacks and diaper bags. When I met the parents at the door to pick up their children from my daycare, I didn't say a word. In a few hours, the phone started to ring as my monumental decision reached its tentacles into the lives it would affect.
I closed the door on the daycare I operated for 15 years from my home. With faltering footsteps, I walked away from the children I loved and their parents who were my friends and embraced a new adventure. I struggled with fear on so many levels but by far the biggest challenge was leaving behind my tribe.
The parents who came to my door each morning and stayed and chatted when they picked up their kids and the children who lived firmly in my heart--they were my tribe. At my new job, I knew two people, and they were upper management and not the ones I would rub shoulders with. For the first several weeks, as kindly as the staff at the new job treated me, I missed my tribe.
Whatever you call them, the group of people who call you friend, hold you up, encourage you on the hardest of days, laugh and cry with you and are there when you need them--they are your tribe. Each one may not fulfill all those functions and they may not know each other, but together they hold you together and without them, you falter.
This is especially true of care partners. So who belongs to your tribe?
Not everyone has a supportive family and many members may be more helpful or able than others. Uncle Jim may be elderly himself and cousin Glenda may live too far away and your brother may be useless at anything like care, but give everyone an opportunity to do something. If they say no, don't take offence. That won't help anyone.
Friends and Neighbours
Asking takes courage and many times you don't have it in you, so try asking when the need isn't great.
"Janice, if I needed someone to pick up a few things at the store for me sometime, would you be willing?"
"Lorrie, would you ever be able to pick my kids up at school if I couldn't leave mom?"
"Tashi, you are so great with dad. Would you ever be able to visit with him for an hour or so to relieve me?"
This non-threatening way of asking keeps the door open for future opportunities. Keep a list of who you've asked for what.
Church and Other Organizations
Talk to your minister/pastor/leader and let them know the kind of needs you have. Ask them about others who may have similar needs. Is there a support group for those caring for elders? If not, maybe you could start one. Or if that's too challenging, talk to others who also care for an elder and look for connections.
Professional Disease-Specific Organizations
The Alzheimer Society, The Parkinson Society--just about every disease has a group. Most are well organized and helpful sources of information. People dealing with similar issues are easy to meet and there's a wealth of special supports such as Alzheimer's Dance Classes or Parkinson's Boxing. Google them and see what's out there.
You are the leader of the tribe, but it's up to you to find those people who can support you in many small ways. Each one holds an essential place in your tribe and holds the key to survival and even thriving as a care partner.
Find your tribe!
Surprising, Little Known Ways To Find Your Tribe