Help the helpers

Please join me in honoring and learning from caregivers, first by watching Sarah Kucharski’s powerful, personal story:

Second, watch my talk about the bigger picture and how people can help:

Now: what’s your story? What roles do you see for caregivers in health care or in your own life? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Sarah’s blog,¬†The Afternoon Nap Society

Family Caregivers are Wired for Health (Pew Research Center/California HealthCare Foundation: June 20, 2013)

Mister Rogers viral image: The story of the boy (Washington Post: January 7, 2013)

Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update РThe Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving (AARP: July 18, 2011)

Thanks to Health 2.0 and Stanford Medicine X for posting the videos. For more videos in the series devoted to the Unmentionables of health, check out this Storify.

2 thoughts on “Help the helpers

  1. Seems odd that there are no other comments on this post, are the caregivers caring for others today? (I have to say, I saw the post this morning but now is the first time to sit down)
    My own story tells me that Sarah gets it right– the caregivers are not the patient but are experiencing new and unexpected challenges. As a parent, caregiving is a role I fell into because of medical issues with both of my daughters. Alexis is non-verbal but she’s able to share giggles and smiles with the world.. Stopping to take a moment to cherish those moments gets me through.
    I also know that I have to work, I have to be able to share my whole self so that I can be a better caregiver. When Alexis came home from the hospital, I was at home extra time – but it was a personal challenge for me. I was lucky to have support to get back to work flexibly (aligning with my needs as a caregiver).
    Sometimes I tell people, I’m like a surfer (although I’ve never surfed) – but I know there is danger, I know that there is challenge and I know that only by being flexible and prepared will I be able to tackle each day.

    • I never know which posts will garner comments, but this one is asking a lot — watching two videos takes more time and bandwidth than reading an essay. And I did post it on what looked to be a beautiful day in most of the U.S. (I spent most of it outside myself). What I really wanted to do was find a way to pull out those two videos from the virtual pile and make sure I knew where they were for future reference.

      I love your surfing image. Trying to stay in good enough shape to take whatever comes your way, while always scanning the horizon, alert for danger even as you’re having fun. John Moe tweeted another simple but profound insight yesterday, “‘Apply your own oxygen mask before assisting your child’ is the best, most broadly applicable advice you can get as a parent.”

      So: after a day of looking after other people (easy stuff, but still) I prioritized myself and went for a run. Oxygen mask: on.

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