Joys of Caregiving


 A Blog from Digital Sisterhood Network Founder Ananda Leeke

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Happy November Digital Sisters,

I believe caregiving is rooted in the spirit of compassionate service. When I serve compassionately and give back to others, my heart opens and fills with joy. Click here to read AARP’s Bulletin on the unexpected joys of caregiving.

Over the years, I have learned that caregiving happens in many ways. It can be a short-term project that a wiser family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, or person needs help with. It can also be a daily, weekly, or monthly series of activities that support the wiser person’s needs as they navigate the aging process, daily life, health concerns, financial matters, or transportation.

Photo Credit: CNet.com

Photo Credit: CNet.com

Recently, I used my digital skills to support a family member’s short-term project. It was a Digital Sisterhood moment for me. Here’s what happened. While I was visiting my 74-year-old aunt one evening, she asked me to give her a tutorial on how to use her brand new tablet. The digital sister inside of me jumped for joy! We spent 90 minutes reviewing her tablet’s features, experimenting with her camera by taking photos and recording short videos, and exploring numerous apps including one that would allow her to read the Holy Bible. She wanted to find one that would be easy for her 97-year-old mother to use for her weekly Bible study class. So we researched options and downloaded several free apps that she plans to show her mother. When we finished the tutorial, my aunt hugged me and told me how much she appreciated my support. I smiled and said it was my pleasure to help her become a digital sister!

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Photo Credit: AARP.com

This month, I invite you to celebrate National Family Caregivers Month by sharing your caregiving stories through AARP’s “I Heart Caregivers” online initiative. “I Heart Caregivers” is set up as a microsite for people to share stories about being a caregiver. It includes a newsletter signup for regular emails about caregiving and links to AARP’s caregiving resources. Check out AARP’s blog about the initiative.

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Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

 

Celebrating Digital Sisterhood Network’s AARP Caregiving Partnership


Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Happy Autumn Digital Sisters!

November begins tomorrow. So does National Family Caregivers Month and the Digital Sisterhood Network’s (DSN) third year anniversary celebration of working with AARP to promote caregiving and resources for America’s 42 million caregivers, many of whom are women and our fellow digital sisters. AARP is a nonprofit organization that helps people who are 50 and over turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities, and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security, and retirement planning.

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DSN started working with AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign as a part of our living well initiative in 2012. Since then, we have been able to share information and resources that have given support to a diverse group of digital sisters and their families. Last year, DSN founder Ananda Leeke worked with AARP staff and bloggers to promote AARP’s caregiving resources and web site at the BlogHer annual conference. We also joined forces with AARP’s Thanks Project to express deep gratitude for the caregiving work provided by caregivers. AARP created ThanksProject.org to encourage and allow individuals to post messages of support and thanksgiving for and about caregivers. We think it is an awesome way to express digital affirmation and gratitude in a public forum that builds a community of support and inspiration. It also informs  others about the important roles caregivers play in their loved ones’ lives.

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

November is a great month to express gratitude for the caregivers in your family, circle of friends, and community. One way you can demonstrate your gratitude is by showing caregivers how to access AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center and Guide to Caregiving (free). The web site has great articles and tips that caregivers can use to support their wellness journey as they care for their loved ones.

Logo by Dariela Cruz

Logo by Dariela Cruz

Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

 

Digital Sisterhood Network’s #CareSupport Campaign Honors National Family Caregivers Month in November


Photo Credit: AARP

National Family Caregivers Month logo

Happy November!

This month, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is honoring National Family Caregivers Month by participating in the AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport Campaign. The annual observance was established by the National Family Caregivers Association in 1994 during the week of Thanksgiving. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first presidential proclamation. As interest grew in family caregiving issues, National Family Caregivers Week became National Family Caregivers Month. The Presidential Proclamation that President Barack Obama signed on November 1, 2012, describes the essence of National Family Caregivers Month:

“National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day. As we offer our appreciation and admiration for their difficult work, let us also extend our own offers of support to them and their loved ones.”

Photo Credit: AARP & Ad Council

Women represent a large percentage of today’s family caregivers. They are the daughters, mothers, aunts, sisters, spouses, partners, friends, and neighbors who answer the call of helping relatives and loved ones. As sheroes, they give selflessly as they devote countless hours in service as they parent, cope with their own health challenges, work full-time in careers, and run businesses and organizations. Their efforts bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. They make their families and communities stronger. But who cares for them? Who makes their lives easier?

Badge created by Dariela Cruz

Those two questions are two of the main reasons DSN adopted the #CareSupport Campaign as its first campaign for the Leadership, Lifestyle & Living Well Initiative. Since DSN launched as a media channel that serves as a self-care, self-discovery, and social justice movement for women in social media, we have encouraged women online and offline to take care of their emotional and physical health by embracing “living well” as a necessity in their lives. DSN founder Ananda Leeke has also promoted self-care practices in women’s lives through her work as a Reiki Master practitioner, speaker, workshop facilitator, and yoga teacher in one-on-one clients sessions, online video series, yoga classes, conferences, and workshops. Beginning next week, Leeke will use DSN’s #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday weekly Twitter celebration to bring awareness to family caregiving and promote AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign resources. Be sure to join @DigitalSisterhd on Twitter on the following #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays: November 14, 21, and 28 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Many of these resources will be posted on DSN’s Facebook page. In addition, Leeke will share some of her personal experiences with family caregiving, the lessons she has learned, and the importance of women seeking resources to help them provide better care to themselves and loved ones later this month.

AARP RESOURCE: Visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center for more information.

DISCLAIMER: All opinions mentioned in this post represent the views of Digital Sisterhood Network.