• Kitty Edwards

Welcome to Conscious Caregiving

[Module One]

Conscious caregiving occurs when you are awake to your own physical, emotional and spiritual needs. You are aware of your intricate relationship with the precious one you are caring for. You are grounded and connected to the natural world around you.


This is a practice you will awaken to again and again.


I have been a caregiver for many people in my life and know that caregiving is an intimate and personal journey.


I have also had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of caregivers – adult children caring for elderly parents, parents caring for very sick children, a spouse caring for his partner, professional caregivers working in palliative and hospice care, ICU doctors and nurses.


I have been privileged to hear their stories that express their grief, challenges, and the priceless moments of joy. Caregiving is at times overwhelming and yet it is such an honor to care so tenderly for another.


The Conscious Caregiving Series contains 18 modules designed to help you navigate the journey of caregiving for someone who is moving toward the threshold of death.


Each module focuses on a single topic – self-care, grief, family dynamics, dementia, caring for a veteran, etc.


Knowing from experience how little time caregivers often have, I have designed the series for quick reference with recommended resources should you choose to go deeper into a topic.


Each module includes the following elements:


Story


I always begin with a story to inspire you. These stories introduce you to real folks as they face real challenges. Sometimes they are my stories. Other times they are stories caregivers have shared with me.


Ritual Practice Video


Practicing rituals boosts resilience, lowers anxiety and helps process emotions. Each module offers a short video of a ritual that fits into any caregiver’s schedule. Remember that a ritual requires you to set an intention and give it your full attention.


Tips


I offer actionable tips on the module topic to help you in your caregiving. Even if some are familiar, they are useful reminders on how to be more fully aware in the process of caregiving.


Resources


Resources included in this section have been carefully selected for quality and relevance to each module topic. For this introductory module I am providing a list of top-level resources that speak to caregiving and rituals on a broader level.


VIDEO: Creating an Altar

Before you begin the series, I recommend that you create a caregiver’s altar in your home or office. Your altar will serve as a focal point for other rituals you develop during your caregiving journey. Watch the video below.



RESOURCES

American Society on Aging provides resources from 25 organizations that support caregivers.

Caregiving College Video Series includes transfer, nutrition, dental care, bathing and dressing, toileting, behavior issues and caregiver self-care.

Center for Loss and Life Transition provides resources on to the many types of grief for the bereaved and the family, friends and professionals who support them.

Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging connecting you to services for older adults and their families.

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) supports families and friends nationwide who care for adult loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.


Meditations for Caregivers provides practical, emotional, and spiritual support for you and your family, offered by AARP.


Resources Caregivers Should Know connects family caregivers with direct services and support.

Senior Care Guides provides practical tips, expert advice and access to resources.


ARTICLES


Why Rituals Work: There are Real Benefits to Rituals, Religious or Otherwise


Creating Rituals to Move Through Grief

Little Altars Everywhere: Altars in Our Everyday Lives


The Power of Ceremonies and Rituals in the Transformation Process


The Power of Rituals: How to Build Meaningful Habits


BOOKS

Caregiving for the Genius: Understand the Journey from the Inside Out by Jane Barton

Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some´

Tears in My Gumbo: The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience by Nadine Roberts Cornish

The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself by Linda Abbit

Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush


© 2020 Conscious Caregiving. A presentation of The Living & Dying Consciously Project