Please enjoy this article by Rose Murrin, LICSW, Kesher social worker at Temple Congregation Beth Sholom
The Challenges of Care-giving OR When the care giver needs to be a care receiver
Jane to the group: "Do you ever think about what it will be like to be like them? To be on the periphery of people's lives?"
Ruth: "All of the time."
This exchange occurred recently in a caregiver support group that I was running. It was an intense moment, filled with sadness over the diminishing of a parent's abilities, both physical and social, and fear for the members' own futures. The role of caregiver to a loved one can be both mundane and unfamiliar. As it is with many of life's more challenging moments and roles, people adapt, and find a rhythm of activity that fits their lives and the needs of their loved ones. However, there are times when a caregiver has a moment to reflect and diverse emotions may surface: gratitude for being able to provide, weariness at the unpredictable nature and duration of the job, an awareness that one day they too may need care, and that the need for care can be just as daunting as the provision of it. In these moments, the weight of this responsibility and its meaning may become more noticeable, more burdensome. And in these critical times, some form of support can be a sanity saver or simply the tool that allows a caregiver to continue on.
So what does this help look like? It may begin with an awareness that while many of us are happy to be care givers, we must also, at times, be care receivers. Care or support means different things for different people. Some caregivers look for a friend or support group to lean on. Both options provide an empathetic ear, a place to express the things that not just anyone will understand, to laugh or cry or both. For others, arranging practical help with care-giving responsibilities is the appropriate reinforcement; friends and family may offer the caregiver an extra hand or momentary break, but sometimes there aren't enough people around to meet the need. At these times, looking into a paid home care or a respite program may be a valuable option. The choices in this area are as numerous as are the types of needs. From paying for a CNA to provide hands-on care to having a volunteer visit for a few hours per week so the caregiver can get out to see friends, run errands, or simply be alone, help is out there.
Jewish Family Service recently launched a caregiver respite program called Partners in Care, funded by Legacy Corps, that matches volunteers with care-giving families living in the community. These volunteers can provide friendly visits, companionship, participation in recreational activities and errands, and transportation. Partners in Care strives to decrease caregiver burden and stress, and increase the potential of the caregiver to sustain loved ones at home. Sometimes just knowing that an afternoon free is coming can help get a person through a particularly difficult or disheartening day. And perhaps the time at the salon, or the coffee shop with friends can provide the renewal needed to refocus on the joy and love in the relationship with the care receiver.
If you happen to be a caregiver, I hope you have the supports you need to live a balanced life and have the energy to lead it. If you are struggling to find what you need, please reach out. As the Kesher social worker at Congregation Agudas Achim, I am available to help at 401.338.8301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you caring for a loved one and in need of some support?
I want to let you know about a new program through Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island that you may find to be a valuable resource! We are currently launching a caregiver respite program called Partners in Care. Your loved one may be living with you or on their own - either way, support can be critical in sustaining the care they need. Partners in Care volunteers will provide free respite care - friendly visiting & companionship, transportation for errands or doctor appointments & recreational activities.
Partners in Care is an AmeriCorps/Legacy Corps funded program that matches volunteers, who commit for one year of service, with caregiving families in the community to provide part-time (up to 10 hours per week) respite for the caregiver, and support and companionship for the care recipient. This program is geared towards families with a veteran or military connection of some kind (can be a living or deceased spouse, parent or child of a veteran or active military member).
If you or your loved one is interested in this program, please contact Jessica Murphy, Program Coordinator for Partners in Care at (401) 331-1244 or Jessica@jfsri.org or you can reach out to me, the Kesher Social Worker for Agudas Achim at 401.338.8301 or email@example.com. Please find more information in this flyer. (Click on link for flyer)
Amy Small, LICSW
Back to Kesher Program
Amy Small, LICSW, is the new Kesher social worker at the synagogue. Kesher is the congregational outreach program of Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island, funded by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and currently active at Congregation Agudas Achim, Temple Torat Yisrael, Temple Am David, Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Beth Sholom. Amy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or