Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
Health Centers
Key Services
America's Worst Enemy?
What is the leading cause of death in the United States?
Auto Accidents
Heart Disease
Perscription Meds


 The Failure to Cope 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Patient Advocacy in Hospitals by . View all columns in series

What is the difference between a healthy caregiver and a loving family member? Unless a family member approaches caregiving with a commitment to care for their own health FIRST, they will become an unhealthy caregiver and potentially, in the case of marriage, a soon-to-be ex-family member. How does this happen? I went from loving wife to mother to jailor. I did this, not him. While my intentions may have been laudable, my actions were based on fear, fear that he would “die” on my watch. Clearly there was a little ego in my actions, as well.

Mary Robinson Reynolds named my failure this way, “If a chick is helped out of its shell, it will die. If a butterfly is helped out of it’s cocoon, it will die. The gift, or the service you can provide to humanity is to let the struggle take place, as with your own struggle to not over-do or over-give for people. Miracles happen when people get so in touch with their desires that they start asking for what they want. When they do this, they start sending new vibrations out. Miracles happen when we decide it’s OK to not struggle or suffer any more. There is nothing valiant about suffering.” And I suffered because I did not ask for what I wanted. I did not ask for help… I struggled with where Bill ended and I began. And today, I know that what I experienced is normal and I have forgiven myself for my failure to cope.

If you have any doubt about the “normalcy” of my failure to cope, consider these statements from experts in the field.

  • Suzanne Mintz, president and co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association, states that “Spousal family caregivers' risk of depression is six times greater than that of non-caregivers... And, they are less likely to reach out for help... To protect their health… family caregivers to spread the work load. Caregiving is much more than a one-person job... Often… caregivers do not want to ask for or take help..." (2/10/08 HealthDay News).
  • Adults who care for a sick or disabled family member “often have medical problems of their own, lack health insurance and are stressed by medical bills. 45 percent of the caregivers have one or more chronic health problems, compared to 24% of those who are not caregivers. It looks like they are having a difficult time." (8/24/05 HealthDay News).
  • "The added responsibility that someone has after a loved one leaves the hospital can lead to feelings of isolation, increase depression, and make them not eat as well as they should," explained lead researcher Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
  • “Depression often helps boost the health risks associated with caregiving... In fact, measures of psychological strain were significantly higher among study participants with depression and low social support, she said. We don't know if high caregiving strain leads to depression, or if depression increases the sense of strain." (3/12/08 HealthDay News).

What did I learn from my caregiving experience?

  1. Nobody is super man or super woman. We all have feet of clay and need help when we move into situations like this that are so far outside our experience base.
  2. There are organizations that can help you sort through these issues. Check out for a list.
  3. Caregiving statistics repeatedly predict the pattern I experienced, with the same outcome - death of relationship and/or disability/death of care provider.
What can I share with others who have or will experience caring for a family member or friend? If you take apart the word, “stress,” from which we surely suffer, there are answers for us all.
   CONTINUED      Previous   1  2  3  Next   
 Comments Add your comment 

 About The Author
Jari Holland Buck is a business consultant, medical layperson, Reiki Master and Shamanic Practitioner who spent 6-1/2 months in four hospitals with her critically ill husband. During 5+ months on life support, every......moreJari Buck
 From Our Friends
Popular & Related Products
Popular & Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     April 3-July 3, 2018
     Los Angeles, CA USA
2018 National Wellness Conference
     June 18-20, 2018
     St. Paul, MN USA
Additional Calendar Links
Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness, Breathing, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Wellness Inventory       Wellness Center
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us
Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
Learn More/Subscribe
Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
Learn More
Do you want to become a wellness coach?
Learn More
Free Webinar