The Heart of Caregiving: Transitions

Each member of Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support Program is or has been a caregiver to an older adult or adult child, creating a valuable shared experience among Advocates and those who seek their assistance. In this ongoing series—The Heart of Caregiving—our staff, volunteers and others share their personal caregiving stories and the insights learned along the way.

The following story comes from staff member Daria Sawochka.

Caregiving seems to have a naturally blurring effect on the one providing the care, eroding the often flimsy boundaries that barely exist between caregiver and their charge. It can be so challenging to know where you end and the other person begins, among the myriad of endeavors that fill the life and heart of a caregiver to overflowing. I have often wondered, is it even possible to have a healthy sense of oneself while caring for another?  Or is it something that must be learned and relearned, again and again? Revealed? Then lost. Uncovered by the journey itself?

Here are some of the truths caregiving has revealed to me:

Caregivers tend to be “other” focused, tuned into the care receiver, ever anticipating the needs of others as early as we can, in our attempts to avert a crisis, or relieve suffering, pain or the loneliness of loss. We try to keep things from becoming even more out of control than they already are. In this process, I have realized one can completely lose oneself, like a glacier that slowly begins melting, then tumbles into the sea, becoming the sea itself. For me, this happened quietly and without fanfare, barely noticeable to the naked eye.

Until a certain day came when I looked around and realized, I was gone.  I was nowhere to be found, lost.  Nothing around me looked familiar anymore. When I lose something, the first thing I do is backtrack, retrace my steps in hopes of finding what was lost. I began to ask myself:  When did this happen?  When did I first notice the absence of me? I began to wonder:  Had this happened so slowly as to go unnoticed?  Or, was it something else?

Was it in the name of duty, of devotion, of love, that I willfully let go of me?  And if so, was this a price I was willing to pay? Perhaps.

Then an overwhelming emptiness came over me, much like waking up in a vacant warehouse, filled only with cobwebs and echoes of what once was. As a caregiver, I began to feel the price I had been paying.

I began to admit to myself, for the first time, this was unsustainable, unacceptable, and could not continue.  I began to ask myself:  When did I stop thriving and began to believe surviving was enough?

Very slowly and tearfully I began to realize:  The devotion is still there. The great love and caring is still there, now transformed into a new shape, a new form.  A great longing to be a daughter rose again.  I no longer wanted to solely live as a caregiver.

There was a time when I didn’t even know this was a choice, when I gladly took on Mom’s life and I folded up my own, placed it in a box and stuffed it on the top shelf in the back of my closet “for later use,” I told myself. Now it feels different to me.  I am learning to sit with two things at the same time – I love my Mom so much AND I need help with meeting her everyday needs.  One does not cancel out the other.  Both reside in my heart.

I am grateful for the help and support I receive in my life.  I certainly could not be on this journey alone.  Whether support comes from friends, family or coworkers –  or from the fabulous supportive services available in my community; I welcome them all and have come to realize they are as vital as clean air.  And my hope is that all caregivers reach out and find the priceless resources offered in their neighborhoods.

Federal Way, Give Rides to Change Lives! Help a Senior Near You!

Program: Volunteer Transportation
Location: Federal Way
Duration: Ongoing
Group or Individual: Individual
Kid Friendly: Yes
Summary:  Change lives by giving rides! Drive seniors to and from their important medical appointments.

Contact: 206-748-7588 or dianas@soundgenerations.org. Apply Now

Description: Help older adults get to their important and life-sustaining medical appointments. Using your own vehicle, you would drive seniors to their appointments, wait for them, and return them home, providing friendly companionship for the round trip. This flexible opportunity allows you to choose which days, times, frequency, and areas you wish to serve. You may also change your availability weekly. Our program staff will happily work to accommodate your schedule. Take a turn in the right direction, become a volunteer driver today!

Requirements: Volunteers must have a valid Washington State driver’s license and auto insurance, a reliable vehicle, no moving violations in the past two years, ability to pass a criminal background check, and some weekday availability.

Are you registered? Don’t Miss our Inspire Positive Aging Awards (IPAA) Luncheon on June 26th!

Only 9 Days Left Until Our Luncheon celebration! Online registration is now closed, however you can still purchase tickets until noon on Wednesday, June 19 by calling 206.727.6267. There will be an opportunity to win a raffle prize of two domestic, round-trip airline tickets on Alaska Airlines!

We hope to see you there!

Visit inspire-award.org for the latest information, FAQs, and more.
Can’t attend? Please consider making a gift in lieu donation
This event is sponsored by Microsoft, Premera, Azose Commercial Properties, Swedish, Aegis, Biella Foundation, and Alaska Airlines.

GiveBIG Thanks & Celebrating Older American’s Month

Help Us Set Pace for the Best Year Yet!

THANK YOU!  We sincerely appreciate the generosity of our GiveBIG donors who gave from their hearts last Wednesday and raised $27,829 for aging adults and adults with disabilities in King County!

DONATE NOW FOR OLDER AMERICAN’S MONTH!

These donors allow our organization to ensure older adults have access to essential basic services so that they can lead their best lives. They say it takes a village and we are deeply honored to those who were motivated to GiveBIG.

There’s still time to donate if you did not have an opportunity to give on May 8th. We are excited to announce an expanded giving drive in honor of Older Americans’ Month for the ENTIRE MONTH of May! Nearly 60,000 aging adults and their caregivers that we support are counting on us and we cannot do this alone.

DONATE NOW FOR OLDER AMERICAN’S MONTH!

It’s GiveBIG day!

NOW is your chance to change a life. Every dollar counts, no matter how big or small. THEY ARE MATURE, RESILIENT, AND WISE BEYOND THEIR YEARS. Yet many are isolated, outliving their friends, and without family. Don’t let this continue to be the reality for aging adults in King County.

Join your peers today and make a donation to help older adults have access to the food security, transportation, health and wellness, and assistance services they need to feel safe, healthy, respected and included in a caring community that affirms aging. Make a gift now at givebig2019.org/soundgen.

If you or someone you know would like more information about our other programs, please visit www.soundgenerations.org or check out the pages below:

Community Dining
Caregiver Support
Health & Wellness
Hyde Shuttle
Meals on Wheels + Mobile Market
Minor Home Repair
Pathways Information & Assistance
Senior Rights Assistance
Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors (SHIBA)Volunteer Transportation

Deadline Extended! Get your Inspire Positive Aging Awards Nominations in by 5/7/19!

We greatly value your input and would love to learn about who inspires
you. Visit inspire-award.org for more info and to nominate a deserving older adult.

SUBMIT AN ONLINE NOMINATION

PRINT A PDF NOMINATION FORM

PRINT A WORD NOMINATION FORM

REGISTER FOR THE LUNCHEON

Who is eligible for this award?
King County residents aged 60 years or older.
 
Three Ways to Nominate:

  1. Submit an online nomination.
  2. Visit www.inspire-award.org to download a form and email your completed application to IPAA@soundgenerations.org.
  3. Or, complete the nomination form and mail it to Sound Generations 2208 2nd Ave, Seattle WA 98121.

When is the nomination deadline?
May 7, 2019

What are the Award Categories?
Advocacy + Activism, Community Service, Health + Wellness,
Intergenerational Impact, Lifelong Learning, Defining Inspiration

All Nominees Receive:
Complimentary entry for themselves and a guest to the Inspire Positive Aging Awards Luncheon on June 26, 2019 at The Bellevue Hilton.*
*You may nominate a couple or group, but they will be recognized as a single Award Recipient and may receive up to three complimentary admissions.

All Award Recipients Receive:
An Award Plaque – $200 Visa Gift Card – Recognition in press materials
(Those who nominate an Award Recipient receive a $50 Gift Card)

Questions?
Call 206.727.6261 or email Brittanybl@soundgenerations.org.

Get your tickets today for our annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards (IPAA) Luncheon!

Registration Now Open! Nominations Close in 2 Weeks!

YES- I’d like to reserve my tickets(s)!

Get your tickets to our annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards Luncheon at the Bellevue Hilton on June 26, 2019. Join us as we come together to celebrate and recognize outstanding individuals whose lives exemplify positive aging through community involvement, relationships, healthy living, endurance, creativity, and balance – all traits we ourselves hope to exhibit as we age. General admission is $75.

I can’t attend, but would like to make a Gift In Lieu donation

Hilke Faber, 2018 IPAA Recipient for Advocacy + Activism:
“Thank you all for such a lovely luncheon and celebratory occasion!! I am humbly honored to share this moment with so many inspiring individuals. And really, feel all the nominees are deserving of this award! I so respect and value the critical services you provide to our community!! As the first Long Term Care Ombudsman I am glad to know that SOUND GENERATIONS is there to help improve the quality of life for those in need and help seniors lead their best lives in the least restrictive setting!! THANK YOU!!”

Visit inspire-award.org for the latest information on the nomination process, tickets, sponsorship and more. Don’t delay- nominations are accepted until April 30, 2019.

YES- I’d like to nominate a King County senior!

Inspire Positive Aging Awards Logo