It’s easy to think about hospice and automatically go to the many ways it benefits patients, but there’s another group of people who benefit from hospice too: caregivers.
Angela Hospice’s Nikki Scott will discuss just that during her Angela Answers presentation, Care for the Caregivers, on Nov. 16.
November couldn’t be a more appropriate time for Nikki to discuss the world of family caregivers, the challenges they face, and self-care tips. It’s the same month during which both National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and National Family Caregivers Awareness Month, are recognized.
And Nikki’s in a unique position to lead this discussion as well. She’s seen how hospice can benefit caregivers on the hospice journey with a loved one during her work as a case manager and social worker, and while someone is grieving a loss through what she does currently, working as a grief counselor at Angela Hospice.
“A lot of these people don’t have that outside support… and kind of like grief, death, and dying, it isn’t really talked about in our society either. You can feel really isolated as a caregiver,” she said.
Which is why it’s a relief to so many when they sign their loved one up for hospice, where there’s a 24-hour line to reach out to; doctors, nurses, social workers, and aides on call; they aren’t on the island alone anymore.
All of those members of the hospice team offer something else that Nikki said is quite priceless: education. Many don’t realize what all it takes to be a caregiver. They go about it with trial and error, and that often leads to burn out and feeling overwhelmed.
While there are a lot of really tough parts about being a caregiver, Nikki thinks the toughest is probably watching whoever you’re caring for decline, and not taking care of yourself on the other end.
“I tell people all the time, I would probably be the same way,” she said. “They’re running on adrenaline and not taking care of themselves.”
Even though being a caregiver is a lot of tough work and hard days, and there can be negative consequences if a caregiver doesn’t take care of themselves, Nikki said being a caregiver also shows people something else: how strong and resilient they are.
“They are doing it because they love this person, otherwise this person would probably be neglected. There’s love there,” she said. “I think they can see really how much unconditional love they have, and how resilient they are as caregivers, that they’re willing to go through this…”
For more information about Nikki’s upcoming Angela Answers – or to register for the virtual event – visit here.