We hosted our first ever Coffee Chat on Instagram live this week…and it already went international! Caregivers from the UK, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between participated in our real-time conversation. We can’t wait to see our community grow as we invite caregivers of all ages—and from all over the world!—into this virtual space.
Because we’re caregivers too, we understand that schedules are all over the place. But that’s the great thing about these live conversations…we’re able to save the video! So if you couldn’t hop on in real-time, you can always check it out on Instagram.
Here are three of the major themes Michelle & Eliza discussed in the first chat—things that identify us as caregivers no matter where we live, no matter our age, and no matter the age of who we’re caring for:
- Shifting roles
Whether you’re a daughter, mom, brother, or grandfather—becoming a caregiver causes your role to shift. Eliza shared during the chat how her role shifted from simply granddaughter to caregiver AND granddaughter. She reflected on how the shift isn’t necessarily a bad one—and it doesn’t always lead to a major change in role—but there’s something different about no longer being just a granddaughter. When caregiving requires you to do things for your grandmother you’ve never had to do before—helping her bathe, for example—your role has shifted. When caregiving prevents you from doing things with your grandmother you once enjoyed—for example, going out for a drive—your role has shifted.
2. Changing relationships
Caregiving is a complex duty. It strains relationships, and it changes dynamics—not just between the caregiver and caree, but among the entire family. Michelle asked Eliza how caregiving changed the dynamics within her large family when her dad lost the ability to drive after foot reconstruction surgery. Due to the shift of responsibility, the strain of time-crunching & schedule stress, and the pressure on relationships, their family had to undergo yet another “renovation” in roles and responsibilities. Eliza also mentioned that during this time, she realized her relationship with her dad had changed from that of the father-daughter relationships she observed in peers and friends.
3. Hard feelings
Both Michelle and Eliza talked at-length about the difficulties of caregiving—from initially identifying as a caregiver to feeling resentment about the caregiving role. They also invited livestream attendees to contribute anything they’d been struggling with recently. A common answer was the feeling of resentment—whether that resentment was towards the caree or towards the situation. Other caregiving challenges shared? The grief that goes with changing relationships and shifting roles, the fear of being left behind while the rest of the world continues on, and the frustration of not being able to foresee a “5 year plan,” due to caregiving having a timeline all its own.
We hope these weekly opportunities provide a safe place for caregivers to listen to each other’s stories, to offer advice and new perspectives, and to support one another through the shifting roles, changing relationships, and hard feelings of the caregiving life. Tune in Mondays at 11AM ET to catch up, caffeinate, and chat with our caregiving community. Stay tuned to our Instagram feed for updates.