Denise M. Brown of Caregiving.com has been mentioned here before and was recently in Sacramento to lead a Family Caregiver Seminar. Usually, Denise does the interviewing on her internet radio program, Your Caregiving Journey, but Robert’s Sister turned the tables and asked Denise a few questions!
Robert’s Sister: Tell us a little bit about your advocacy work for caregivers.
Denise: I advocate for family caregivers in several ways. I provide them an opportunity to share their collective wisdom and stories on Caregiving.com and on Your Caregiving Journey, my Internet talk show. I also create events, such as our Second Annual Caregiving Art Show, to remind them that they remain a creative being, even during a time that seems to sap the life out of them. I encourage family caregivers to see the impact they make in their families and in their communities; they truly disrupt to create change for their family members who need their care as well as for other family caregivers. I also advocate by sharing solutions through the seminars and webinars for family caregivers I lead. Finally, I educate health care professionals and our communities about the needs of family caregivers through speaking engagements and outreach activities.
Robert’s Sister: What motivated you to create Caregiving.com?
Denise: Caregiving can be a really lonely experience. I wanted to lessen that loneliness and isolation so I launched Caregiving.com in 1996 and online support groups soon after. In 2008, I added technology which allows family caregivers to blog about their days on the site. I really want the site to be about family caregivers connecting and relating with each other.
Robert’s Sister: What is the biggest obstacle you've had to face in helping caregivers?
Denise: Time – having enough time in my day to make the impact I want and family caregivers having enough time in their days to make use of the support available to them.
Robert’s Sister: How did you overcome that obstacle?
Denise: I have volunteers who help me; they welcome new members who join Caregiving.com. I want every new member to feel noticed and welcomed. And, I try to make it easy for family caregivers to get what they need from the site, whether they have only five minutes or an hour.
Robert’s Sister: What changes do you see ahead for caregivers?
Denise: I think family caregivers will care for several family members at the same time – perhaps parents and in-laws or parents and aunts and uncles. I also think care provided at home will become more intense and sophisticated. And, family caregivers will use technology to monitor care. In essence, the caregiving experience will become more demanding.
Robert’s Sister: What is your biggest wish related to your website and helping caregivers?
Denise: I just wish we could help as many family caregivers as possible. I also am working to create volunteer teams (I'm calling it a Care Squad) which connect with and help family caregivers in their communities.
Robert’s Sister: Is there anything else you want people to know?
Denise: I'd like family caregivers to know that, while difficult and terrifying, it's good to reach out for help. I also want them to know that they have a very important story to tell. When you're ready to reach out and ready to share your story, we'll be ready to help and listen at Caregiving.com.
Robert’s Sister: How can people contact you if they want to get resources and support when caregiving?
Denise: Feel free to connect with me at Caregiving.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CaregivingSupport) and Twitter (@caregiving).
Robert’s Sister: Many thanks to Denise for her time and her work on behalf of all of us family caregivers. The beauty of the online work Denise does means it is possible to feel connected with others even if that person is across the country (or even in a different country altogether!).
Please be sure to join me and Denise during our monthly chat about working caregivers. We talk on the second Saturday of every month on the internet radio show, Your Caregiving Journey: Table Talk.