Updated: May 6, 2019

Asking for and receiving help was a BIG topic this week in the Health at Home group, the ICare Community. Curious about this and other topics we cover?

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Some caregivers felt they were fortunate to have a circle of support; people they could ask to help AND who offered to help. They were others though, who were not experiencing this. They felt they had NO ONE they could turn to for help and that NO ONE offered their assistance!

Let’s face it, some family members are not in a position to help. They may simply live too far away to help out with the day to day activities (although I challenge long distance family members to get creative too and find ways to support your family from afar 😊)

Yet there are other family members who live close by but remain “checked out” and cannot or will not engage in supporting your family members. This is a BIG pill to swallow…but swallow we must! You cannot force someone to care for someone or to assume any of your day to day duties- they have to come to it willingly.

So, if they can’t participate due to distance OR they won’t participate for their own personal reasons, who can you turn to?

One thing I do know, and I say this often, “Caring for someone at home, is NOT something you do alone”.

As the “Team Leader” you need to build your Care Team around you and your loved one. This may…or may not… include family members.

1-Family members: They need to identify themselves what they are good at and how they can contribute.

2-Volunteers, such as Friends, Neighbors, Hospice volunteers, Church or service groups that you or your loved one once belonged to

3-Care Staff like Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, In Home Support Workers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, Pharmacist and professionals like me, who serve as a Care Navigator!

4-Community Programs and Services that include Mobile practitioners, i.e. hairdresser, footcare, barber, esthetics, Meals, Delivery services, and Equipment vendors

5-Clergy or spiritual advisors and other practitioners who offer complimentary care such as Imagery, Aromatherapy and Massage. Even your Pets can contribute to the Care Team with their unconditional love!

6-Support Groups in your local community or on line, such as the ICare Community can be a great source of support!

If you need help and support to build your Care team, don’t delay…reach out today.

And remember this: Caring for someone at home, is not something you do alone!

Take care,


Having recently experienced the loss of a loved one and spending time with the family who supported her AND after talking to many of you about losing your loved ones, I have come to realize that after all the love… and then the loss, there is so much learning. I have heard countless caregivers reflect on their caregiving role; providing personal care, attending numerous appointments, dealing with hospitalizations, managing infections, dealing with falls and the endless doctor’s visits. All the care, the conversations and support that you have provided! Whether it was for a short time or for many years. It would seem that it was not until after their loved one had passed away that they were truly able to reflect on what they had just experienced and what they had learned. Learned about themselves, their loved one, their family members, the care system and their community. I have heard many of you say what a privilege it was to be a caregiver. At the time, you were just soldiering on

, doing what needed to be done. It was only after your loved one had passed that you were able to really stop, rest, recover and reflect.

I realize that for many of you, this may not be your experience. The failing health, the emotional and financial costs, and the time demands of providing supportive care for loved ones can tear some families apart. It can dissect relationships; bringing back all kinds of mixed emotions, sibling conflicts and rivalries. But for some, it provides a unique and rewarding experience that many consider themselves lucky to have been a part of. I can see that this is where my role comes in. By supporting, guiding and providing valuable information to caregivers along the way, I try to make this caregiving experience as positive as it can be. It’s not easy when you are in the thick of things and your loved one’s health is declining rapidly and you are exhausted. But it doesn’t always have to be so hard, and I really want to make it easier.

I would invite you to consider the support you would find in our new “I Care” Community; a safe space for YOU, the family caregiver, to be recognized, valued and fully supported. My promise is that you will receive the information, guidance, education and resources that will support YOU... at whatever stage of caregiving you are at. We welcome future, present and past caregivers and the wealth of love and learning you bring!

Contact me for more information; 506-478-2060 karen@health-at-home.ca.

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

The importance of self care goes without saying and we hear this A LOT in today’s fast moving world…"You have to take care of yourself”…”If you care for others-put yourself first”…”You can’t pour from an empty cup”….on and on. One thing I have discovered after working with hundreds of families and hundreds of family caregivers is that they always put others first…sometimes to their detriment. They think- I’ll just get them looked after and THEN I’ll look after me.

I am guilty of this too. Although my parents are still fairly well and independent, as a wife, mother, friend, sister and member of my community, I have often put the welfare of others before my own. I am frequently doing for others and often leaving myself last. This is easy to do especially if you are a kind and caring individual who truly wants the best for others.

But is it self indulgent to put ourselves first? Heck no! It’s a necessity and there should be absolutely no guilt in doing so. Self care activities do not have to be a full day/weekend or week off either. Self care activities can be short, sweet and simple too, making them much more likely to occur. The key is to planning for them and blocking out the time for them. Take a few minutes to be still, be quiet, deep breathe, go for a walk in nature, read a chapter from a good book, sip a cup of your favourite tea, write in a journal, listen to your favourite music, call an old friend. Self care does not have to be a fancy day at a spa (although that is nice too!). Use your imagination and trust what first comes to you….and ENJOY.

Your role as a caregiver is demanding so take care of the body and mind that works so hard every day!

To learn more about support available for family caregivers, join our FREE Facebook Community, ICare at www.facebook.com/groups/theicarecommunity/.

Take good care, Karen

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Fredericton, NB