Writing about caregiving

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I spent last week at a writer’s retreat in New Hampshire. It was a wonderful experience, and just what I needed, to unplug and at the same time, recharge my writing inspiration.

I turned off social media, and turned inward to focus on what I really want to share about caregiving and how I should present that in written form. I also opened myself up to others who were going through their own painful experiences. But there was also plenty of laughter and great stories shared among the group.

Even for caregivers who don’t fancy themselves writers, taking a writing workshop can offer them a supportive stage to share their thoughts and feelings about the caregiving experience, giving a voice to those who are often forgotten or fade into the background.

Our teacher commented at the end of our time together that caregiving will eventually touch most, if not all of us, and that is so true. Even in our small group of memoir writers, there were people who had served as family caregivers and who were dealing with the deaths of spouses, parents and other loved ones after lengthy, debilitating illnesses.

Even if you don’t plan on writing a book, consider taking a writing workshop. There are plenty of one-day or weekend workshops, so no need to make it a full-fledged vacation (though it was a wonderful indulgence for me.) If you enjoy blogging, you may be surprised what the writing prompts at a workshop can bring out. You may be challenged to look at an event from a different perspective, and the feedback you get from fellow writers and instructors can be insightful and useful.

While I know talk therapy works for some people, I’ve never been a big fan of it personally, mainly because I don’t like to express myself verbally, especially when forced to talk about myself. But through writing, I’m able to do that with a greater comfort level. I also like the added bonus that I get some writing done while working through tough situations.

The most important thing of all though is that if you enjoy writing, keep it up! Whether you make it to a workshop or your writing ever sees the light of day, just the physical act of expressing your feelings is so beneficial.

Do you do any writing outside of blogging? I would love to hear about it.

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6 Comments

Filed under Awareness & Activism, Memories

6 responses to “Writing about caregiving

  1. Being away form social media and the internet in general is very refreshing. I did this for several weeks earlier this year and could not believe how peaceful I felt and stuff on social media seemed so inconsequential. Sadly, I don’t do any writing outside blogging.

  2. Well, you probably already know that I write. My yet-to-be-published novel is fiction, but inspired by my relationship with my mother-in-law who just passed away.

    Switching gears, it looks like we need to hire a caregiver for my mom. She isn’t completely helpless, but could use some help a few times a week. I haven’t the first idea where to begin to look. Do you have any suggestions on any reputable services?

    • My mom did quite well for months with a caregiver from a small agency in her area. If you look at national organizations, I would stay away from A Place for Mom, I’ve heard multiple reports that they are not a reputable organization, high-pressure tactics, and only recommend places that they have deals with.

      Is you mom in the Chicago area? You might try CareLinx, they are supposed to be screened and have their hourly rates clearly stated. https://www.carelinx.com/caregivers/il/chicago

      There’s also Visiting Angels, I believe they are nationwide as well:
      http://www.visitingangels.com/

      • Thank you, Joy. I’ll check those out. My mom actually has someone in mind, but we’re not sure if she’s available. If not, we’ll have to look elsewhere. And, we’re not in the city, but the Chicago burbs.

  3. Aside from blogging I am a novelist (Playing Botticelli) and journalist, mostly reviews and essays. I agree that writing about caregiving is different and has been incredibly valuable. I hope what I write is useful to others, but I know that both having an outlet to organize my feelings and hearing from others have been a lifesaver….Congratulations on your time well spent in New Hampshire

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