The Cost of Caregiving: Losing Your Place

placeCaregivers Lose Their Place

When Pedro received a non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis in the Spring of 2002, I had no idea that I’d joined a community that had no place to call home. Hundreds of thousands of family caregivers—from teenagers to octogenarians—belong to the community, but we often feel as if we don’t fit

In the hospital, we don’t speak the vocabulary that the medical professionals sling around as if we understand. At church, we become “So-and-so’s unfortunate mother/father/wife/husband/sister/brother/child.” People stop asking us how our loved one fairs, because, well, who wants to hear bad news all the time?

Some caregivers give up their place and their jobs to move home to take care of aging parents. Others relocate their family or add extra travel to their already busy lives.

Worst of all, we focus all of our energy on the one we care for—forgetting that we must take care of ourselves first, or we will have nothing left to give.

A Place for Caregivers

Whether you currently care for someone, or consider yourself a ‘recovering caregiver,’ this place is for you! We’d like to invite you to poke around the blog and see if any of the stories resonate with you. Even though caregiving feels lonely, you are NOT alone.

If you prefer a more interactive community, join us on Facebook at our secret Blessed (but Stressed) caregiver’s group. The community is small right now, but we’d like to create a space for current and recovering caregivers to support each other.

If you know a #caregiver that could use some #community, send them our way! Click To Tweet

If you’re not a caregiver, you might know one who would enjoy the community—send them our way! Together, we can share our stories and learn how to take care of ourselves so that we can better serve the ones we love.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your favorite posts from last week!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

Don’t forget to visit the other #InspireMeMonday host site:

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tara Ulrich

    Love this friend!

  • Stopping by from FMF: As a nurse, your post spoke to me. Sadly, as medical professionals, we sometimes are so busy focusing on the patient at the expense of the caregiver. My challenge to myself is to approach my care of the patient holistically and honor the needs of the caregivers as well as the patient. Keep warrioring on, caregivers!

    • Nurses rock! I think the paradigm is slowly shifting–most of the time I felt like a part of the team. Nurses don’t have time to watch patients 24-7, but caregivers do. I tried really hard to not let my emotions get in the way, and report noticible changes that worried me (and I was always right in my concerns–I could tell when something wasn’t right, and the morning blood work would often reveal an infection or something else wrong). It would be cool if hospitals could give ‘caregiver training’ to family members who want to stay with their loved one.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    As a patient…right now I am listening to Glen Frey’s best song, “Brave New World”. The refrain to the firt stanza is this:

    Don’t worry, darlin;, this will all be over soon,
    just remember you will always be my girl (my girl).
    Somehow you will find the strength to stand upon your own
    and live in this brave new world.

    It’s beyond eerie. My death would make things so much easier for my caregiving wife…and so much harder, as well.

    • :/ You made me tear up, Andrew. May God be with you and Barbara on your journey.

  • Yes, this is so true. Thanks for being sensitive to strange world that caregivers inhabit.

    • Yes! I’d never thought of it that way, but it is a pretty strange world!

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  • Yes, this is so true – sometimes we lose our place by spending so much time at the hospital or rehab, and sometimes, like in my situation when we moved my m-i-l home, we’re displaced from our “safe haven” by a patient, hospital gear, hospice workers, etc., so it’s hard to find a place to retreat to.

    • That must be so difficult for you, Barbara! I often retreated to the bathroom…

  • How beautiful that there is such a thing as this space for caregivers. I have only been in this position for short periods of time, but even then, I remember how all-consuming it felt, like I had dropped out of the rest of the world for a season.

    • It’s surreal, isn’t it?

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  • What a great ministry you have. My mom lives with us. She broke her hip late last year so we had some challenging months, but she’s doing well and quite active right now. But it’s always nice to know there’s a place to go when things get difficult. Blessings, Anita!

    • I’m glad she’s doing better, Donna!

  • Susan

    Andrew’s comment has unraveled me.

  • Stephanie Thompson

    Anita, care giving can be isolating. You are right that you lose your place. You leave the rhythm with which you are used to walking and suddenly you need to find your place in a new one-and one that changes repeatedly. So glad you are using your experiences to help others navigate through theirs’.

    • My hope is that those who know caregivers get a little glimpse into what it’s like for caregivers and offer fellowship to them in some way, too.