Keep it Real Wednesday
May 24, 2023
In 2018, Wade and I attended a “caregiver conference” to navigate the waters before us to help Rosemary age, and die, in place in our home.
One breakout session was conducted by a group of social workers who challenged us to draw a personal caregiving map.
As I listened to the instructions, they told us there are visible and invisible threads that bind us together, both to those we are closest to and those we may only have a passing relationship.
They challenged us to take note of any relationships of care: any sort of relationship you have with another person where you give or receive help, support, or advice. These relationships can be with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and even pets.
The map was intended to help us better understand our current situation, plan for difficulties, manage the people involved, show missing people and services, and communicate with everyone.
Once completed, the care map is a great visual of what is working well and what isn’t and where there might be gaps for caregivers.
But are there other uses of a care map other than for caregivers?
Yes, I believe so. Scratch that, I KNOW SO!
In fact, this is an exercise I would recommend to EVERYONE as a quick inventory of your relationships, the value and care they add to your life, and the value and care you add to others.
It helps us find our posse and maybe point out some areas in our lives where we could do better.
I glanced at mine from 2018 and it certainly looks different than the one I took the time to draw yesterday. Some people have changed, some arrows are going in a different direction and new people have entered my circle to fill the places where people have left.
I am grateful for the relationships on my map, both those in near circles and those in more distant circles, those with arrows one way, and arrows in the other direction.
It is a great reminder of our human connectedness.
So, what made me think about redoing a care map after all these years?
It was watching my daughter LIVING her care map right before my eyes at her baby shower. As I sat back and watched the outpouring of love that day from family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, helping her welcome and care for her new baby, it was a CARE MAP IN ACTION.
And my momma’s heart took a deep sigh of gratitude.
We were not meant to walk alone.