These are just some of the many responses we received
from our Editorial of 08/07/08 -
Terry, I'm a woman who
takes care of the sick and elderly. I started
by taking care of my parents and grandparents (all
of whom have died). Since and during, I have, and
am, taking care of others (parents and grandparents
of friends and neighbors). I also give support
to friends and neighbors as they are taking care of
family members. It seems to me that the experience
someone could bring to the table would count for
something. I can understand the rotating of members
so thing don't get stuck in a rut and there are
always fresh and up-to-date ideas. What I don't get
is the all female thing. Yes, the majority of
caregivers are women, but that should be all the
more reason to include the voices of male
experience. I don't know if my voice will help, but
here it is.
I am just finishing a third
year where the non-profit I work for has provided a
Caregiver Support Program. We are ending the
year and will not be able to offer it next year.
The requirements that many funding sources have make
it extremely hard for us to provide the services.
This is a program that is needed all across the
nation, and I hope you can find a way to continue
support to the people who are no longer a part of
the group. I hope you do not have bad feelings
toward the leader. Remember they have many
challenges to meet their requirements. If you
have been in a strong group, maybe part of your
group could break off and start a new one, or a few
of you meet with the ones leaving in a public area
as an extended support group.
This is not advice for
Terry, only an idea...
If you cannot get them to change the rules, why not
start your own support group with the current
members who will no longer be allowed to attend?
If you do this, then your new group can decide
the who, what, when, where how and why of your
group. Your group can include everyone who wants to
attend, if you so desire. As a group, you can decide
the new guidelines for your meetings. You can
take turns facilitating if you like, or you can vote
on a facilitator. Since it sounds like you
have been attending your current group for some
time, you can adopt some techniques for facilitating
that you have learned- perhaps a ritual for
opening/closing the meeting, how to keep folks on
subject and how to make sure everyone gets a turn
without the group feeling like any one person is
monopolizing. You can take a list of potential
topics of discussion that folks would like to
address, and this can be a starting point for each
meeting- what an opportunity to learn about
different topics and ideas! You can even use
topics in the caregiver.com newsletter to expand
upon. Perhaps experts in different aspects of care
issues of your group will donate time to come and
Essentially, your new group can work collectively to
make it what each of you needs and wants.
Perhaps you can get space donated to hold your
meeting in a part of a restaurant/coffeehouse,
agency or library.
Of course, you can absolutely look for another
support group with a different agency. Naturally, it
is going to be geared to caregivers caring for a
loved-one with the illness or issue that particular
agency deals with (i.e, Alzheimer's, cancer.)
Whatever your decision, I wish you the best of luck
and hope it works out for you. Remember that
your local Information & Assistance/Referral (I&A or
I&R) office can help direct you and your group
members to resources.
Thank you for doing the most difficult and most
important work ever- caring for family, whether
biological or not. Many blessings to you, your
group and all caregivers.
Gary, with regard to the
caregiver group that is referred to and meets where
the rules have changed, one rule that changed
is Ė no men allowed. I am a woman and I donít
feel men should be excluded. They need support
just as we do. I have a father with dementia
and live away from my family but am in constant
contact with my mom and sister. Seems that
doesnít matter who a person is, male or female,
support for these situations is needed. You
may pass my email along to the lady who is wanting
to change rules. What happened to her
#1, First, the members of
this group will make changes according to the needs
of the Group after free discussion in which all will
or can participate and vote.
#2 this Group will NOT condone nor practice
sexual discrimination based on gender.
#3 This group will recognize that a caregiver
is a caregiver whether or not they are related to
the person (s) getting care.
4. This group recognizes that caregiviers also
grieve and the comfort of the group should not be
withdrawn or denied them arbitrarily.
5. Should the Faciltator feel he or she is
unable to work within the group following the above
guidlines, and recognize that she is an aide
to the group, not a dictator.She should feel free to