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Finding Meaning in Caregiving


Caregiving can offer trials and triumphs as well as challenges and joy. A Caring Today survey found that many care partners experience the role as "more rewarding than expected." This is significant information: if the Parkinson's community - professionals as well as those personally affected by PD - can help people through the hurdles, they can potentially find more positives in the experience.

Choosing to focus on the positives of being a care partner can help you to be mindful that there is joy in the journey. Sometimes we just must look for it. What are some care partner rewards?

  • Connection: Few people plan to be a care partner. At first, you may think you are alone, but you will soon learn many others are in the same situation. If you are willing to do so, you can make new friends, possibly even discover new interests and endeavors.

  • Relationships: Accept and be thankful for the help of family and friends and appreciate your quality time with them. Although "sharing the care" can sometimes lead to conflict, people who have worked through this with some success find that it can bring families closer. In addition, your role might bring a feeling of increased closeness to the person with Parkinson's.

  • Growth: Take pride in how much you learn and discover in your own strengths. You are likely to gain new insights about life. Find positives in every day, feel empowered and recognize your accomplishments.

​For many, care partners have found meaning in being a care partner simply from taking pleasure in giving their time and energy to their loved ones. Those that choose to be mindful, can see an opportunity to explore new spiritual beliefs or revising old ones. Others find a sense of pride and purpose on the journey as a care partner.

Choosing to join others on the journey through support groups can also be helpful. Perhaps you will attend a support group with your loved one living with Parkinson's. Or, you may be able to carve out some time to attend a care partner only support group. Benefits for participating in a support group can include:

· Commonality among members

· Education, information

· Learning to adjust to diagnosis

· Practical techniques

· Feeling understood

· Reducing stigma

· Socialization and friendships

We invite you to join the PAA's Care Partner Only Support Group that is hosted via zoom on the second Tuesday of every month at 7pm. Email Brooklyn White at brooklyn@parkinsonalabama.org for more details and to receive your zoom link and invitation to join.

If you wish to see what other support groups are available throughout the state for you and your care partner, visit https://www.parkinsonalabama.info/support-groups

Sources:

Parkinson's Foundation. Page 28. Finding Meaning in Caregiving. Chapter Two. Caring for the Care Partner. Caring and Coping. A Care Partner's Guide to Parkinson's Disease. "Booklet."


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