Does Any of This Sound Familiar?
Maybe you’re like Mary…
Mary had been caring for her 86 year old Mother, Paulette, for three years. It started out with occasional trips to the doctor and some help with spring cleaning, but progressed as it became clear that Mother was suffering from dementia.
Frequent telephone calls to Mary at work led to problems with her supervisor, and finally Mary decided to leave her job to focus on caring for her Mother. Instead of feeling less stressed, Mary started feeling worse. She felt like a heavy anchor was sitting on the bottom of her stomach. She started having frequent headaches, upset stomach, and was crying almost every day.
Paulette had had some mental health problems when she was younger, and had been verbally abusive and neglectful of her small children. Over time, Mary made peace with her Mother and her childhood, and had been feeling pretty good about their relationship.
Now, Mary felt like she was five years old again. Paulette was often critical and unappreciative of the things Mary did for her. It looked like Mary would have to move in with her Mother to keep Paulette safe in her own home. (There had been that incident with the burned up tea-kettle…)
The thought of leaving her comfortable home to be her Mother’s full-time caregiver left Mary with a powerful sense of dread. In spite of this, she honestly wanted to do the right thing.
Many of us overcome painful childhood memories and figure out how to live well, with families of our own, good jobs, and a sense of what’s right and wrong, fair and foul. Some of us pay dearly for our challenging early experiences, and carry the weight of insecurity, sadness, and even poor health into adulthood.
Whatever distance you may have put between yourself and the adults who were supposed to care for and about you, their old age or disability may rekindle a sense of confusion, despair, and hopelessness when you try to figure out how to care for them. Dealing with siblings can make the problems even more complicated, leaving you feeling frustrated, angry, resentful, overwhelmed, or guilty.
I’m here to help with a unique perspective that I’ve gained from my decades of work in three areas that provide just what you need in your situation, because I am an expert in caring for Caregivers in ways that are person-directed and trauma-informed.
Hi, my name is Lisa Kendall.
I am a social work psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist with a private counseling and consulting practice. I teach for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute and I also serve as an Elder care expert for the Cornell University President’s Advisory Council on Work and Family Affairs.
I’ve been educating both families and professionals about aging and Elder care issues and working directly with caregivers and Elders for over 35 years in a variety of care settings, including home care, adult day programs for people living with dementia, nursing homes, and in hospitals.
My experience as an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative™, fuels my passionate commitment to the health and well-being of family and professional care partners, and to the creation of person-directed care for every member of the Elder care team. I speak nationally and internationally about the impact of early trauma on Elders and their care partners, and I work every day with caregivers, one-on-one, to help them manage stress, cope with chronic health issues, and heal from trauma and loss.
It will help you find a safe distance from which to help, and to find the best care partner role in your personal situation. Instead of feeling bad about your caregiving, you can know that you’re doing the best for your family member, while staying true to your own values. You will learn strategies to reduce feelings of anxiety, set limits, say no, and build a care partner team for yourself and for your Elder that will allow you both to continue to grow and heal from old wounds. Best yet, you can begin to find a sense of balance in your life, regaining control over your time, your inner calm, and your physical and emotional well-being.
Caregiver-focused Your personal workbook provides practical exercises and assignments so you can work with the concepts and apply them in your unique situation. Right from the beginning, I will show you how to make action plans to make the changes you want and need in your life, and you will practice the skills you need to make them happen. Our community conversations provide support and encouragement every step of the way.
Trauma-Informed My clinical training means I understand that trauma and loss may be at the heart of our stress, so a safe, supportive, and confidential environment is absolutely essential to doing this work. Guidelines for participation are provided to create a warm and accepting environment for everyone, and we work together to share information and shed light on how painful memories may shape our perspectives and reactions to caregiving later in life. This is an important key to this course, and while the course is not a substitute for therapy, it will provide important information that can be used to supplement work you may be doing in your own counseling with a qualified professional.
Person-Directed Respectful care for our Elders is a goal we need to strive for as a society, and it’s something we all want for ourselves. When we care for an Elder who has been (and still may be) neglectful or abusive to us, we are doing it because a part of us strives to provide “better care,” but we often neglect our own needs. The basic ideas and ideals of person-directed care have to work two ways, and we will explore how important it is that both the Elder and you, as the Care Partner, are safe, have your needs met, and have opportunities to grow.
This aspect of the course may nudge you into thinking in a very different way about your care partnership…
Get your workbook, meet your fellow travelers, and introduce yourself. You can participate anonymously or use a nickname to protect your identity if you want!
MODULE 2: Starts Feb 15th
Consciously acknowledging our history with the Elder provides important clues to the road ahead. In this Phase of our Journey, we use reflection and self-assessment to map where we’ve been so far. We’ll acknowledge the lessons learned, and look at the tools and skills that have brought us to the present moment. The following topics will be covered, most with worksheets and exercises to get you thinking about your unique history:
MODULE 3: Starts Feb 22nd
You can’t get to where you’re going unless you know where you are. This module helps participants get a realistic picture of what is going on right now, with the Elder and within your own being.
MODULE 4: Starts March 1st
There are many care options available; this chapter provides a framework for making decisions about care, reviews available options, and provides a realistic sense of what is possible for caregivers in a difficult situation.
MODULE 5: Starts March 8th
Every care partner (especially you!) needs and deserves to have a team of supportive people. This Module helps you think consciously about how we balance care for others with care for ourselves, how we share care on a team, and how we define what “care” is in the first place!
MODULE 6: Starts March 15th
In dysfunctional families, healthy boundaries may have never been established, honored, or respected. It may be difficult to say “no” to unreasonable requests or to ask for what we need. Here we’ll explore when and how to open our boundaries and when to close them. We will emphasize how past and present painful experiences affect our health and well-being, and what practices can radically decrease stress and improve a sense of personal safety and serenity.
MODULE 7: Starts March 22nd
We will wrap up the course with a summary of lessons learned and help you create an action plan for next steps.
BONUS MODULE: Released March 7th
Seeing to the needs of an older or ill family member can take a physical and emotional toll on caregivers. In an ideal world, all members of a family would cooperate so that care is shared among them. Unfortunately, challenging family dynamics often mean that one caregiver does most of the work, and resentments can easily mushroom into family rifts. This workshop will provide tools to help you reimagine the care partner team, find what works in your situation, and re-energize your caregiving!
This course will work for you even when life gets in the way (as it can for caregivers). We promise you will continue to receive each and every lesson on schedule. You can work on each week’s lesson at your own pace, and the mini-modules and worksheets are designed to fit into your busy life. You will have access to all course materials and the community conversations for a full year after the course ends, and can download the course materials to keep forever.
If you discover after fully participating in the course for the first two weeks that it’s not for you, please call for a full refund.
We’ve known for a long time that caregiving, even in the best of circumstances, is a stressful situation that can have physical and emotional consequences. Current research is showing that caregivers of Elders who have been abusive or neglectful are at even greater risk.*
The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to lower your risk, improve your health, and reclaim your own well-being.
When Elder Care Hurts: The Q.U.I.C.K. Map to Preserve Your Peace, Save Your Sanity, and Find the Right Path for Your Caregiving Journey will show you how.
Be sure to register today as space is limited.
Option #1: Basic Course Enrollment
Option #2: Standard Enrollment
Option #3: VIP Enrollment
Basic Course Enrollment includes all seven course modules, downloadable workbooks for each module, and membership in the online Community Conversation. Upgrade to Standard Enrollment, which includes all of the above, plus two live group Question and Answer calls with Lisa, where you can bring your specific questions about the materials and how to apply the tools in the course. (Don’t worry if you can’t make the live calls, as you will be able to listen to recordings of the group calls at your leisure). You will also have access to an exclusive half-day virtual care partner retreat, Re-Create Your Life Online Vision Board Workshop. This is a full-immersion coaching experience in a small intimate group. You’ll get the space you need to intentionally define your dreams and create a Vision Board that will effortlessly attract your ideal outcomes to you and enhance the course materials. VIP Enrollment is also available for a limited time, and includes everything listed above, plus an invitation to the Caring Connections Full Day Virtual Mastermind Workshop: Cultivate Well-Being in 2019. This is an opportunity to work with Lisa and a small group to go deeper to develop a personalized plan to put everything you’ve learned in the course into action, and to meet your goals for the coming year. Working within a safe and secure virtual environment, you can participate in the comfort and privacy of your own home to learn new skills, gain additional insights, and map a comprehensive plan for your best year in 2019! This option includes an exclusive check-in VIP group call, scheduled 6 months after the end of the course and designed to keep you on track with the growth and goals you’ve identified for yourself.
This course is not therapy and is not a substitute for mental health treatment. Since providing care for an ill or disabled family member presents a high risk factor for physical and mental health concerns, you are encouraged to work with your own therapist and/or have an adequate system of support while taking this course. By registering for this course, you warrant that you have access to physical and mental health resources and the ability to connect with crisis services as needed.
References: Kong, J., & &oorman, S.M. (2015). Caring for my abuser: Childhood maltreatment and caregiver depression. The Gerontologist, Vol 55:4, pp. 656-666. Span, P. (Jan. 20, 2014). A Risk in Caring for Abusive Parents? New York Times, NY, NY.