As a family caregiver, I know firsthand how difficult the role can be. I also understand how rewarding it is. In my travels with my dad, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, I meet people struggling to see the positive side of caregiving.
Some caregivers are simply worn out from trying to juggle so many responsibilities and tasks each day. I thought it might be helpful to read inspirational caregiver stories. I am looking for a few stories that show caregiving from a big picture as opposed to items on a daily “to do” list.
Do you have any inspirational caregiver stories you could share?
Caregiving Stories that Inspire and Motivate
One of my favorite quotes about caregiving is from former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, an advocate for families and caregivers. She said, “There are only four kinds of people in this world. Those who have been caregivers, those who are current caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” It is a very insightful statement, especially given what we know about caregivers.
The Facts about Caregivers
According to the AARP, here is what caregivers across the country look like:
- 6% of all Americans provide care to an adult
- 60% of caregivers are women
- 56% of caregivers work full-time outside the home
- 13% of caregivers are assisting a friend or neighbor
Caregivers lead very busy lives. It is no surprise that people who are caregivers for a friend or family member experience more depression than their non-caregiving peers.
Finding ways to stay motivated is important. I think your idea of sharing inspirational stories is a great one.
Care That Inspires
Two of my favorite caregiver stories involve public figures whose names readers will likely know—Glen Campbell and Muhammad Ali.
The Alzheimer’s Journey of Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell, a highly acclaimed country singer, was diagnosed with a mild cognitive impairment in 2009. This led to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease a few years later. Instead of keeping such personal information to himself, he and his family shared the news with the world.
Mr. Campbell did an extensive farewell tour that gave fans a chance to say goodbye. The tour also gave the singer a way to stay engaged and productive despite his diagnosis.
His wife, Kim, shared many of their struggles along the journey. These ranged from how to cope with wandering, paranoia, and hallucinations to choosing a memory care assisted living facility. The family’s openness helped others to see that their struggles are not unique. The documentary, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me chronicles Mr. Campbell’s journey.
The Champ Battles Parkinson’s
Another inspirational story is the life of Muhammad Ali. The larger-than-life boxing champion was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 40s. He battled the disease for over three decades with his wife, Lonnie, by his side.
Lonnie’s educational background, which includes degrees in psychology and business administration, helped her thoughtfully chronicle their journey. She frequently shared their struggles along with advice for coping.
The advice she shared ranged from caring for the caregiver to educating yourself about a loved one’s disease. She also encouraged families to appreciate each day and be mindful of the negative effects of guilt and anger.
I hope these stories help inspire you, Stephanie. Thank you again for reaching out to us.
Share Your Inspirational Caregiver Stories
Both of these men and their loved ones courageously shared intimate details of their disease and its impact on their families. If you have an inspirational caregiver story, I’d love to hear it!
Tell your story in the contribute form on this page or in the comments!