It's difficult to describe what happens to a person when he or she becomes a caregiver. I know lots of people like to be all stoic and all "that's what you are supposed to do," but it's not all black and white.
There are many spouses who are caregivers. I fell into this category when my late husband had a brain stem stroke at 33 and I was 30. Other caregivers are children who oversee and provide care to their elderly parents.
Sometimes, these adult children are still raising their own families. The term sandwiched describes this group of folks. I had never heard that term until a couple years ago. I lived through that when I was a child and my mom took care of my Pa for several years before he went to live in a nursing home.
Sometimes, friends and neighbors become caregivers too — helping folks out, who have no one or no one close by to check on them.
I discovered the Web site: www.caregiving.com long after I was a caregiver through Twitter. Last year marked the fifth anniversary of Jimmy's death. I find comfort in that site, because it's a community of people, who have a shared experience with me. They know what I went through. I know what they are going through.
At the top of the Web site it says, "insights ~ information ~inspirations." I agree. I find all three of those there.
The site's creator Denise has a column called "Ask Denise: How Can I Help you?" Her post on Feb. 6 included ways to help the www.caregiving .com site.
Some background she shared:
Caregiving.com is self-funded, which means revenue generated from the site keeps the site going. In the past, I have tried to find investors but without luck. I operate the site out of the corner of my living room (isn’t that amazing!). My vision for Caregiving.com has always been to feature the voice of family caregivers. I hope the site feels like a place where you can come and tell your story (through a blog or a comment or an online support group), no matter how upsetting or unsettling the details are.Denise has a great list of ideas to help out the site, which helps out so many people. I plan to see how I can help, because the site is truly something caregivers (even recovering ones) can be thankful.
If you use Twitter, please follow them @caregiving. Lots of valuable tips through their Tweets.