My husband and primary caregiver, Patrick, wants to get in on the blogging, so I’m turning this post over to him. Here it goes:
My name is Patrick Spott and I thank you for this opportunity to “speak” on the topic of “caregiving.” Some of you may know that my wife Chris was the 2013 Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM) Ambassador. Our 14 years of marriage have been burdened not only with lupus, but rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and a host of major surgeries including a heart valve replacement. I have been the chief caregiver for my wife during this time.
After hearing many stories from fellow caregivers and people living with chronic disease, I asked LFM if I could throw in my two cents on caregiving in this blog. My only hope is that I will be able to help at least one person benefit from my experiences and save them from making some of the mistakes I made. So, in my humble opinion, here are my top five ways you can help a caregiver or help as a caregiver!
- Don’t ask if you can help – just do it! There are many ways you can help that are unobtrusive like cutting the grass or shoveling the snow. Be creative, have fun. It becomes contagious!
- Hound doctors, nurses and hospital staff for free, community-based services that can help you both, and may even be something you do as a couple. We were just informed of a place called Pathways in Minneapolis, which provides resources and services for people with life-threatening illness. It’s been around for 25 years!
- Find Faith. This journey is usually devastating. Find something bigger than yourself to lean on or even cling to. Keep searching until you find the truth.
- For men especially, find a support group immediately. Learn how to talk about your feelings – whatever they may be. Find strength in your weakness.
- Reach out to the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. The staff is wonderful and they will help you find what you are looking for ten times faster than you will on your own. Attend the events and get to know other people who can share your story. The camaraderie is amazing.
Have a very Happy New Year!