A Safe Space to Seek Help

Caring for an ill or declining family member can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. “Tending is tiring,” says Roslyn Strohl, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. Roslyn points out that loss begins with the stress of caregiving. A life-limiting illness may force a couple to give up long-cherished retirement plans or working parents to focus less on their growing children. These losses are as real as a loss through death but are often discounted by society at large.

The time and resources needed to care for an ill family member may cause the caretaker to neglect their health and self-care. Caring for an ill spouse can change the very nature of the partner relationship. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to develop feelings of anger and disappointment. The fear of judgment by others can make it hard for caregivers to express their feelings.

Roslyn reminds us that under difficult circumstances like these, it’s crucial for a caregiver to “spiral compassion back to themselves” so they can effectively care for others. One opportunity to do this is by attending Hospice SLO County’s Caregiver Support Group. Participants will have a safe place to connect with others who face and understand the challenges of caregiving. The support group offers an opportunity to share and discuss situations and feelings without judgment.