Do you look after a relative, cook for them, organize their medical treatment? Do you pop around to a neighbor’s every week to help them with shopping? Do you call your parents and manage their affairs? If you do any of these activities or similar, you are a family caregiver.
You are not alone. In the US there are an estimated 53 million caregivers providing care to friends or family members, and they provide an estimated $470 billion in unpaid care per year.
Family caregiving can be rewarding and life-affirming but can also be challenging and sometimes painful. Stepping into the role of a caregiver for a family member or friend can mean some sacrifice of other activities you may have done. You may now be carrying out medical and personal tasks you don’t feel prepared to do, or you may sometimes feel like you just can’t “hold it all together”. This emotional burden can be heavy to hold, which is why we have developed our Mindful Family Caregiving (MFC) course.
Mindful Family Caregiving for Family Caregivers
In our course, we provide you with practical, mindfulness-based tools and techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, increase wellbeing, and build your emotional resilience. We don’t claim to be able to stop problems showing up, challenges are a part of life, but by using our approaches you can respond to these difficulties in a healthier way, protecting you from burnout and overwhelm.
And by looking after yourself you’re also helping the person you care for! Studies show that caregivers with higher wellbeing and less fatigue provide a higher quality of care to those they care for. This isn’t surprising, as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup“. When you feel better yourself you can connect with others better, and find more enjoyment in what you do.
Our Mindful Family Caregiving Courses are open to anyone caring for a family member or friend – and you don’t have to have any experience in mindfulness. Our courses include an introduction to mindfulness and cover topics such as self-care, maintaining healthy boundaries, and the influence of loss on the caregiving experience. We use interactive exercises, discussion, and short guided meditations throughout the course and we provide time for you to connect and share with other family caregivers. For more details on Mindful Family Caregiving see our explanation page here and check out our class schedule for upcoming classes and events.
“I learned great practices and practical skills to strengthen my ability to provide care” – Mindful Family Caregiving Participant
“It met a need I’ve had for years: self-care while caregiving.” – Mindful Family Caregiving Participant
Family Caregiver Resources
We know that there is a huge amount of information for family caregivers, but it takes time to search for it. To save you time we’ve selected the resources on the website that we think may be most helpful to you, but you can always check out our Resources Page to have a browse – and we are always updating it with new blogs and free webinars.
- Support and Resources for Family Caregivers: A list of organizations that support family caregivers and can provide you with information about a range of family caregiver topics, from practical support, payment for your care, and navigating the medical system.
- Family Caregiving is a Rite of Passage: In this blog by our Executive Director, Roy Remer, shares how Family Caregiving can be viewed differently as an experience that strengthens you, and that you can then share your learnings with those around you.
- Webinar on Using Mindfulness to Manage Difficult Emotions: In this webinar, Roy Remer explores how to use mindfulness to recognize and work with the emotions that show up in our daily lives as caregivers.
- Webinar on Reopening with Healthy Boundaries: In this webinar, our Senior Instructor Mary Doane shares how to maintain Healthy Boundaries in relationships, particularly important when caring for a family member.
- Webinar on Heart in Hands: In this webinar, leader in the field of Mindful Touch Irene Smith shares how using mindful practices of self-touch can nurture and support you, and the person you are caring for, in times of difficulty and uncertainty