It was a drizzly Vancouver BC day in early 2012 when I first met Vickie Cammack. We sat in a cozy coffee shop and discussed my new role caring for my mother.
Vickie has many years of personal and professional experience with caregiving. She helped me to understand and value my new role during a time when I felt invisible. We sat and discussed how caring for someone can teach us about love, what we are made of, and allow us to become our most human.
As my story poured out between us, I felt like an overflowing cup that could no longer avoid the inevitable reality of spilling.
“I want to have the right to be a caregiver.” I explained. This statement surfaced through the experience of being both seen and heard. Vickie nodded with absolute certainty.
“These experiences create the soil of who you will become for the rest of your life.” replied Vickie.
Since this time, I have been searching for stories and conversations that bring the reality of caregiving to the surface. There are so many amazing voices out there! It is a great honour to capture some of these stories and conversations in this blog. Recently one story emerged that stirred up fascinating conversations throughout the social media realm.
Recently, a story came out titled “Let the Caregiving Movement Begin with the Caregiver Bill of Rights.” This movement proposes 10 essential caregiver rights. After reading this story, I met up with Vickie to capture her thoughts on this issue. Sherri Snellling announced the beginning of the next important civil rights movement in the US.
“Over the next 20+ years, the next civil rights issue we will face is a growing older population with more seniors needing care — whether diagnosed with a disease, disorder or living with a disability — and the need to recognize and support their family caregivers. We need a caregiving movement similar to other movements and milestones in the last century”
This story proceeds to propose 10 essential caregiver rights. After reading this story, I met up with Vickie to capture her thoughts on the issue.
She was excited about this story. However, she explained the need to push the conversation further.
“Rights are a starting place, but it does not equal belonging. Caregiving is an integral human role. So much of our society is constructed to make it difficult for us to fulfill our caregiving role and to feel satisfied and proud of it.
Caregiving is often perceived as sacrifice. What if we saw it as a profound experience that provides richness in our lives? It is important to support the rights of caregivers. It is also important to acknowledge caregivers as a valued part of the fabric of our society.”
We need to challenge the invisibility that so many caregivers and patients fall into. Can you imagine a world where caregivers are counted, valued, acknowledged, seen and heard? Do you think that we need to continue pushing the conversation further?
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