This request asks for resources to help develop additional networking contacts in the ITN Men’s Caregiver Support Group program.

It is possible for us to share more planning functions. What I mean is this: Start-up information for a program called the “ITN (In Their Names) Men’s Caregiver Support Group” must be juggled. That is no easy task; existing caregiver support structures present a formidable opponent. My own experience as a caregiver opened my eyes to a system of duress (sorry–that was the closest word I could find to convey the intended meaning).

My wife asked me to become her caregiver. I thought, “We are making a mistake; I am not good enough; I can’t do what needs to be done.” But I had no choice really. I told her I would do my best. The interface between the Health Care Professionals (HCP) and Caregivers needs a buffer. Otherwise the huge disconnect that is “Status Quo” severely reduces the effectiveness of expanding non-HCP caregiver/care-receiver relationships to include more positive features which reprioritize recovery, shaping principles of care.

Sadly this is not an unusual situation. It is not intentional and neither is it a conspiracy. Probably it has more to do with the nature of maleness (as conditioned by society) than it does with deliberate deficiencies.

  • There are times when we think, “We’ve got it all.”
  • There are times when we know, “This is not right.”

Is there nothing we can say? Is there nothing else we can do? We need assistance with forming criteria on “How to judge a culture.” We have opportunities for collaboration but will we take them and risk shifting control?

Because of this awareness and the desire to “help the ones who help others–the Caregivers” I put together the Caregiver’s Manual for Men (CMfM) (see the Caregiver Manual blog, http://caregivermanual.blog.com/caregivers-manual-for-men/).
But it couldn’t end here. After posting it, we began developing additional online resources for caregivers. These resources are different for various reasons. They are intended to go hand-in-hand with available support…not replace it! 1. Our focus is on enhancing care through understanding of personal belief, not on care delivery for patients with specific diseases. 2. Our concentration is from the (family) caregiver’s perspective and is not limited to only what the HCP says. 3. Our goal is to develop support mechanisms for caregivers.

“The best thing about support groups, is that those present are able to learn from each other’s experiences!”

—Dave Hawkins, www.carcinoid-newengland.org

INTERPRETATION

1. Learning to give improved care is a spiritual journey. Messages are influenced by the messenger’s ability to grasp what must be conveyed. We must strive to give instructions for becoming better caregivers in a language and format which all can understand.

2. Disease-specific information must come from authorities, however the melting pots which warm hearts with tenderness are local, face-to-face contacts.

3. No doubt the awareness of a bottom line influences priorities for any agency, organization, or company. But caregiver support need not be limited to the large group settings which only a company or business can orchestrate. We must make viable the concept that caregiver support need be available 24/7. Simplified online resources (meditations, reflections, interpretations, and observations) should be available for private viewing and public sharing. Small groups (where 2 or 3 gather) should have access to basic discussion starters. Large groups should have a uniform schedule (see Agenda on the ****ITN Instructions – Program files***** ) which allows attendees to quickly slip into a comfort zone so they can get on with the task at hand.

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