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Caring For Each Other When You’re Caring For Someone Else

Kim and Rog open up about their personal journey as caregivers to their non-speaking autistic daughter, offering insights into the lifelong commitment of their roles.

These Show Notes are a ChatGPT summary of the episode transcript (with brief additional editing)

In this episode, hosts Kim and Rog cast a spotlight on the often overlooked or misunderstood role of “carers” (also known as caregivers). Speaking from their personal experience as carers to their daughter with additional needs, they offer an empathetic account of the trials, tribulations, and rewards involved in caring for a loved one. The emotional toll that caregiving has on romantic relationships is also explored.

They define a ‘carer’ as an individual who is unpaid and assists another in need – due to age, physical or mental challenges, or illness. The tasks, ranging from social activities and skill development to hygiene care, can be extensive and diverse. Despite the enormity of their responsibilities, carers feel underappreciated within the community, leading to isolation and loneliness.

Kim and Rog open up about their personal journey as caregivers to their non-speaking autistic daughter, offering insights into the lifelong commitment of their roles. They touch on the mental health struggles common among caregivers, and Rog draws attention to the ‘shame cycle’ many carers experience, feeling that discussing their difficulties might detract from the individual they care for.

The hosts underscore the crucial importance of validating carers’ experiences and providing necessary support. This recognition not only benefits the carers but also enhances the care they offer those they care for. The challenges that carers encounter, such as increased stress, reduced free time, exhaustion, financial pressures, and isolation, are highlighted by Kim. She further points out the issue of advocacy fatigue, as caregivers continually fight for resources and understanding.

Rog shares his thoughts about the loss of personal agency and the reshaping of life around the cared-for individual, leading to feelings of uncertainty about the future. The daily ongoing stresses in the lives of carers, along with financial strains and feelings of isolation, can deeply affect romantic relationships, sometimes causing shifts in dynamics and an adversarial environment due to limited resources and increased responsibilities.

Kim and Rog share the importance of effective communication and mutual support to navigate the trials of caregiving within a relationship. Despite the challenges, they express concern about their daughter’s future and the uncertainties that come with caring for a dependent loved one. They also emphasize the need for understanding and empathy from friends and acquaintances, acknowledging that it can be challenging to maintain shared experiences with peers due to caregiving responsibilities.

Drawing from their personal experiences, they provide listeners with three potential strategies to navigate these issues:

1) Scheduling time for deliberate conversations

2) Identifying support

3) Finding a community of individuals with shared experiences(your tribe)

They caution listeners to approach these strategies at their own pace, understanding that many carers suffer from overwhelm, so even thinking about making changes can seem daunting.

To conclude, they compare acceptance to surfing, describing the need to ride the waves of life’s challenges rather than fighting them. They highlight the distinction between acceptance and resignation, explaining that acceptance involves embracing emotions, understanding reality, and planning accordingly.

Lastly, Kim and Rog express their deep solidarity with fellow caregivers, extending an invitation to listeners to reach out with any questions or for a chat. They end by articulating their love for the caregiving community and the privilege they feel in sharing their personal journey.

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To learn more about Kim & Rog's story and what inspired them to start their podcast.