In today's Health and Science Segment, I want to talk about YOU. A VERY SPECIAL YOU. You are not alone. If you are a Caregiver, you are among some 50 MILLION others out there, experiencing life as you are today.
For the first 11 years of my life, I lived in a big house with my Mother, Aunt, and Grand Parents. My Dad leaving when I was 13 Months Old. I've talked about growing up in Salisbury Mills NY, many times. I have shared how it was the BEST times of my life. How my Grandmother instilled a lot of the Morals and Points of View I still have today. The fact that I do not even believe she had Locks on the Door. I have talked about how she basically raised me, my Mother Working at the time to help pay Bills. I've talked about my Best Friend Billy. All these things. But what I haven't really talked all that much about, is the fact that my Grandfather had Parkinson Disease. Oh, I've mentioned it. I talked about how he could do nothing for himself. How my Grandmother took care of his every need. But I have not REALLY shared that.
One fateful day, my Grandmother, sleeping in her Chair, heard my Grandfather calling. She got up, and dropped from a major Heart Attack. Doctors said she was dead before she hit the Floor. Her Heart just exploded. EVERY DAY for the whole 11 years of my life EVERY DAY, from morning to night, ALL night, 24-7, my Grandmother took care of my Grandfather. She also raised me, my Friend Billy, my Aunt, took care of my Mother, Cooked for the Family, and even for some less fortunate in Town. But NO ONE, knew what that REALLY meant until she was gone.
My mother, and Aunt, learned REALLY fast what it meant to take care of some one's every need, 24-7. They would admit to you to this very day, that they had NO IDEA! Then to do all the other things she did? She must have been a Super Woman. She WAS! But then, there are a LOT of Super People out there. They are all, for whatever reasons, doing the same. You are not alone.
I want to introduce you to Caregiver Village. Folks this truly is amazing. It's an online Community designed exclusively for those who provide Care for anyone with Special Needs. Caregiver Village Members connect with friends, participate in Book Clubs with Celebrity Authors, Journal, play Mystery Games, Solve Puzzles. I'm not kidding. There is a lot to do. But most important than all that? Other than meeting people going through the same things, and being able to support each other, you will also learn valuable information about Caregiving.
From their Website:
At Caregiver Village, we’re here to serve the needs and concerns of today’s caregivers. Its a place to connect with other people who face similar challenges, obtain valuable resources, share journal entries and read those of others about caregiving journeys. Visitors can meet well-known authors and participate in their book clubs and play our Village Chronicles game, for learning or just for fun.It really is. I'll admit something to you. I'm being honest here. I hope I do not offend anyone here, but the truth is, I get a lot of Emails asking me to plug this or that. Asking me to post links for support for this and or that. In very RARE occasions, I will take the time to go to the site and check it out. And in even MORE RARE situations, I post them here. Most I do not even click.
The Village Chronicles is an entertaining on-line mystery adventure story that integrates caregiving situations into a game-like atmosphere. You can connect with your friends, find links to valuable resources within Caregiver Village, solve puzzles, achieve ranks, and earn badges. It’s a learning experience that is engaging and fun.
I went here. I went to this Site for TWO reasons. One, I lived it. I understand that those that fall into a Caregiver Role, for whatever reason, and they make the decision to take that role on, instead of looking for alternatives, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, that sort of thing, are VERY Special People. Some of these things, all have GREAT Purposes, and I understand and do appreciate what they do, they can also be Dumping Grounds.
Reason two, I understand the POWER of togetherness. The pure Strength that two people can draw from one enough that are going through the same or extremely similar things. In the Military, Soldiers find this bond to be stronger than Marriages, Family, ETC. Those that survive Disasters? Same thing. It's one of those things that you can not even imagine, unless you live it. Nothing is more traumatic than becoming a Caregiver. To give up one's life, to put their Hopes and Dreams on hold, to care for someone else's EVERY need, 24-7. In a lot of these cases, on top of just the daily grind, you have to throw in there, the fact that they are watching the one they love, slowly disappear before their very eyes. I'm starting to watch this take place again, this time with my Mother In-Law, taking the Role of Caregiver to my Father In-Law, who is showing signs of Alzheimer's. Also from their Website:
FactsI went there. I signed up. I am now a member of the Caretaker Village. And you can too. Just go here: Caregiver Village, and sign up. The first year is FREE. If you find it, which I'm sure you will, if you find it a most valuable resource and tool for you, it's only $49.99 a year. That's AFTER a First YEAR FREE!
The societal problem:
Despite millions of government dollars and hundreds of dedicated websites, family caregivers are in trouble. With over 60 million family caregivers in the U.S. alone, many caregivers become sick (with nearly twice the rate of chronic illnesses as their non-caregiving peers); they’re depressed (40-70% report significant feelings of depression), they face a significantly increased risk of stroke, and they’re frustrated, unable to find resources or solutions they need to help with the enormous burden thrust upon them. They’re also costly to our economy accounting for an estimated $33.6 billion in lost productivity.
The caregiver’s problem:
Family caregivers are exhausted, stressed to the point of illness and frustrated by their isolation. Caregiver Village’s virtual village creates a close knit community where caregivers can discover a sense of deep personal satisfaction – and escape – from the hard, intense work of family caregiving; while simultaneously learning how to handle their stress and building online connections with people in exactly the same situation as them.
It’s time for a new solution. It’s time for Caregiver Village.
•An escape from worries; an innovative way to gain new skills.Games and episodic TV works because they provide escape. Caregiver Village engages caregivers for hours as they play an episodic game while they engage and learn. They return to play the next episode deepening their engagement and learning.
•Real support and connections. Caregivers need support. Caregiver Village creates an online ‘village’ environment where caregivers engage for hours as they interact with others while they and learn and escape. People connect based on common needs and interests in a place that becomes their own village of support and encouragement.
•The power of sharing. Caregivers need to share their story with others. Caregiver Village gives caregivers a means to share their story through the creation of an online journal, guided by supportive experts and well know real life authors. These authors host discussion groups and interact with village members. They help them share their own stories and they discuss topics of community interest.
•A treasure trove of resources. While Caregiver Village is an escape and outlet for stress, it is also packed full of valuable resources for caregivers. Over 1,000 resources, including courses, tip sheets, caregiving products and hundreds of links to disease specific resources are personalized to their needs.
•Advanced technology. Caregiver Village is not just a website. It is a technologically advanced product that uses the most modern technologies available - mobile technology, gamification, social networking, social media, web based course delivery and other advanced technologies - to solve one of the country’s most desperate problems.
Folks, trust me on this one. If you are a Caregiver, you NEED to take some time out to at least check them out. You are not alone, and you do not have to go through this alone. If you know someone who is a Caregiver, check it out FOR them. Then you can decide if they should add it to their daily help. My Grandmother had no one to lean on. No one to learn from. She did this all herself. You do not have to. Your Caregiver Friend or Family Member, doesn't have to. Caregiver Village is here for you. All you have to do is check them out, and like me, you can become a Member. A Friend. A Confidant. Perhaps even a SOURCE of information and Strength for someone else. I went there. Now I'm a firm believer. It's well worth the time.