So much happened this year, both in my caregiving life and in the life of Caregiving Advice. I wish I could share it all—from the exhaustion, tears and irrational/rational fears to the epiphanies, victories, and stumbles-turned-stepping-stones. Here are a few memorable moments from the first 6 months.
Looking back: The launch was scheduled for Monday, January 7th. On Friday the 4th, my web developer and I were texting each other from hospital rooms: me in a children’s hospital emergency department with my daughter, and she in a midwest hospital with her grandmother, for whom she is the primary caregiver. On the afternoon of launch day, following a triage call with the nurse on call for our pediatrician, I took my daughter to urgent care and left with a prescription to treat a double ear infection—and one tired, extremely uncomfortable little girl in tow.
Flash forward to 2020, and this morning, January 8th, I had planned to publish this highlights post but was derailed by weather delays and my daughter’s care needs. But in this past year of growth, I’ve wrestled with this reality: a predictable timeline is very often out of your hands as a caregiver. After a decade of freelance writing for clients and rarely missing a deadline, I had to adjust my expectations dramatically—not only to account for caregiving curveballs, but also for doing the work of “the boss” that previously was not my responsibility. On the days I wanted to dream up social media campaigns and brainstorm blog post topics, I had to do bookkeeping and other business-related tasks.
January 2019 felt rocky and unstable, even amidst the excitement of launching. This January, despite the ever-present bumps along the caregiving road, I feel more focused and confident in the mission, vision, and work of Caregiving Advice. I’m excited about the very nearly completed initiatives, tasks, and projects that will expand this resource hub further. And one of the things I’m most proud of—my talented team of creative care experts and content creators—will meet in an hour for our monthly video call. These team meetups always energize me and remind me I can’t—and thankfully don’t have to—do this alone.
We started our Instagram page in early February, and the growth there has been tremendous. In June, we hit 600 followers, and in October, 1K! We’re currently at 1,475 and adding to that number daily.
March delivered freedom from my compulsive list-making AND the amazing addition of Bobbi Jo Curty to our team!
I still make lists—lots of them—and if I’m somewhere without pen and paper, I’ll even text myself items to add when I’m back at the desk. The biggest difference is this: I don’t let the lists rule my life. I don’t push through exhaustion to either 1. finish the last few things so I can cross everything off, or 2. rewrite the list (moving the undones to tomorrow) so I feel like less of a failure. I’ve learned to embrace list-making as an important part of my creative process, but I’ve also learned better ways of organizing them so I feel less overwhelmed. Sometimes, when I realize I’ve gone too far (i.e. 20+ items for one day), I throw them away and start again, striving for simplicity.
Bobbi Jo Curty, another Eastern University graduate (my entire team is comprised of graduates from my alma mater!), joined Caregiving Advice in mid-March as an answer to the anxious prayers and thoughts that kept me up at night.
As the months went on—and my exhaustion grew in unequal proportion to my goals—I wondered: What if people wanted coaching help from Caregiving Advice and I couldn’t deliver it alone, couldn’t answer all the questions or come up with the bandwidth required to respond. A simple LinkedIn reachout from Bobbi Jo eased those fears and did so much more.
Since joining our team, she has been my sounding board, my guide, and my experienced long-term care professional who knows way more than I do about Medicare, hospital discharge planning, and all things geriatric social work related. She also listens to all my crazy and not-so-crazy ideas with patience, grace, and wisdom—telling me which ones to leave behind (for now, at least!) and which ones to pursue. I’m so grateful to have her.
In April, we published our first Sponsor Spotlight post, and were grateful throughout the year for the support of our gold sponsors, EGOSAN and PHOTAVIA, our silver sponsor, Surrogate Family Care, and bronze sponsor Ro & Steve.
If I had to pick one, this would be the highlight of the year. Meeting my team in person for the first time! The benefit of working virtually? You can work from anywhere, anytime. The downfall? You miss that real-time, real-life connection! Thankfully, we all live in the same state and were able to find a meeting point that involved little more than an hour’s drive for all. This year, we are already planning to do quarterly in-person meetings in addition to our monthly video chats.
In June, we launched our ABCs of Caregiving social media campaign, and wow, did we have fun with it! We also got great feedback from our audience about it and look forward to bringing it back every year with new insights for each letter. Check out the A-M review and N-Z review posts to read them all.