The idea that caregivers need attention is nothing new. What's news is the launch of a formal training program for caregivers. The driving goal is not to develop caregivers' caregiving skills, but to help caregivers tend to their own welfare.
When the Caregivers Need Healing, A NYTimes piece by Catherine Saint-Louis, references a study published in Pediatrics that evaluated parents of children with developmental disabilities, genetic syndromes or psychiatric issues.
"Part of what makes the experiment innovative is that it was targeted to adults, not their children, and it was not focused on sharpening parenting skills. Instead, parents learned ways to tackle their distress as problems arise."
The next sentence is my shout-out to Healthy Survivors:
"The idea is to stop wasting energy resisting the way life is."
The study interventions were training sessions on...
- meditation, breathing exercises, and qigong practices to hone mental focus
- curbing negative thoughts, practicing gratitude and reclaiming an aspect of adult life
Next month, "manuals detailing the two strategies — mindfulness and positive adult development — will be available online for $200 each ($350 for both manuals) for parents of special-needs children who want to start groups."
Caregivers who don't care for themselves unwittingly make it more difficult--if not impossible--to fulfill their goal of providing proper care. Obviously.
But it's one thing to know the right answer for a written test ("Put on my oxygen mask before helping my child put on his.") and quite another to do it when in the thick of caregiving,