The origin of the popular saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” will likely be debated forever. Some say it’s an ancient African proverb, and others contend it’s a Native American saying. No matter its origin, the saying is astute in its recognition of how many hands, eyes, and ears are required to care for a child. But really, the same can also be said for any person who is in need of care.
For those who provide care to another person – regardless of age – the reality is that one person is not enough to get the job done on most days. When a caregiver feels overwhelmed, the words, “What can I do to help” are a lifeline so many caregivers need. Sadly, the reality is that caregivers do not hear these words often enough, because the work of caring for a family member, friend or neighbor is a labor of love, duty and sometimes an obligation.
Caregiving is a topic we don’t often hear much about, and as a result, many of the tools available to help caregivers are not well known.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center: Family Caregiver Support Network (FCSN) is hoping to change that. Through partnerships with Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization (LVCHO), Santa Barbara Foundation, Community Caregiving Initiative and Atlas of Caregiving, the FCSN is working to continually promote new tools and education topics.
The nonprofit corporation Atlas of Caregiving has created the tool known as “CareMap,” a family caregiver support assessment based on research by CEO and Founder Rajiv Mehta and his team.
CareMap is an interactive tool to engage a caregiver in identifying their own support system, the gaps in care that cause distress to the caregiver and the care receiver and a way for the caregiver to ask for help.
As part of its mission to aid caregivers, the Family Caregiver Support Network now provides a CareMap assessment for those seeking help.
CareMap classes, available at the FCSN, lead groups of caregivers through a discussion about how to identify the people who deliver care and support to their care receiver. The session also helps a caregiver in identifying people who can provide support, encouragement, and relief to the caregiver.
In these classes, caregivers learn how to map out a support system – giving them an instant visual aid that can be updated and changed at any time.
This adaptable CareMap can be shared with family members, friends, and healthcare providers to illustrate exactly how many people in the caregiver’s own “Village” it takes to provide care to a loved one.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the CareMap is that it quickly illustrates the “gaps in service,” or where help is most needed.
So, when a caregiver hears “What can I do to help?” the CareMap is an instant – and helpful – a way for a caregiver to answer, and to get some much-needed assistance.