Longevity series continues Tuesday with nationally recognized speaker on ‘Conscious Caregiving’
Caring for a loved one through serious illness or at the end of life is something most people will have to deal with at some point in their own life.
But an important, and sometimes overlooked aspect of that life journey is to ensure care for the caregiver, says Nadine Roberts Cornish, noted author and founder of The Caregivers’ Guardian.
Roberts Cornish is the scheduled speaker in the fourth Longevity Project micro-session hosted by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. The free event takes place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Glenwood Springs Library, in the second-floor classroom.
A family caregiver can often feel alone and ill-equipped in their task, which can lead to a host of mental wellness concerns that are just as important to tend to as the needs of the person being cared for, Roberts Cornish said.
“What’s really interesting is that, oftentimes, it’s the weakest link in the family chain who is selected to serve as the primary caregiver,” she observes.
Just because a member of the family isn’t working full time, or doesn’t have other family obligations, or happens to live closer to the loved one who needs care, doesn’t mean that person is the best fit for the job, she said.
“What we often see is that the person who gets chosen has deficits of their own, which sets up a real disadvantage for that caregiver who may not have the skill set or the training to be an effective caregiver,” Roberts Cornish said.
Beyond those functional tools, Cornish offers a five-step plan for that person to be mentally prepared, as well.
In addition to founding The Caregivers’ Guardian, Roberts Cornish is a certified senior advisor and author of Tears In My Gumbo, The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience.
Through her presentation, “Finding Joy in the Caregiving Journey,” she introduces the 5 Steps of Conscious Caregiving, which she developed to help people understand and avoid the pitfalls they may encounter as a caregiver.
The steps are designed to help the caregiver overcome the challenges of loneliness, depression and anxiety.
“You’ll understand that, while caring for a loved one is important, the greatest care that you’ll ever give is the gift of self-care,” Roberts Cornish said.
The five steps are:
- Helplessness — “That feeling and sense of, ‘oh my God, I’m not sure what to do.'”
- Recognition — “That you don’t know what you don’t know … just being overwhelmed with an overload of information about what needs to be done, but that you just need to get it done.”
- Process — “Figuring it out, and recognizing that self-care has to happen, because if your’s not taking care of yourself, then you’re no good to anyone.”
- Acceptance — “That you’re really not in control, but you have this responsibility of caring for a loved one even if you can’t control their circumstances.”
- Surrender — “Letting go, and letting God … and understanding that what’s happening is higher than yourself.”
“We will also talk about how to avoid isolation, and taking the steps to not do this journey alone,” Roberts Cornish said.
Roberts Cornish also works with Renew Senior Communities, including Renew Roaring Fork in Glenwood Springs, providing education and training on caregiving and providing resources locally.
Renew Roaring Fork is the sponsor of Tuesday’s Longevity event. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the event runs until 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Nadine Roberts Cornish is the founder of the Caregiver’s Guardian, LLC. She has an extensive background in public health education and served as an independent consultant for 15 years with California’s Department of Health Services where she provided expertise on some of the state’s most innovative social marketing campaigns.
Nadine’s most important role was as a 15-year caregiver to her mother. That journey changed everything. A year after her mother’s death, Nadine knew without a doubt that caregiving consulting, education and coaching would be her life’s work. For the past ten years she has care managed, consulted with and supported caregivers across the country.
Those experiences were the catalyst for her inaugural book, Tears In My Gumbo…The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience. Nadine attended the University of New Orleans where she studied Business Administration and in 2012 earned a professional Certification in Gerontology from UCCS. She is also a Certified Senior Advisor, Freedom Coach and Elite Life Coach.
In launching her inaugural book, Tears In My Gumbo, The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience, Nadine has also launched “The Care-ocity” movement, where her mission is to raise awareness and spread the message of caring around the world.
Spreading the message of care-ocity means sounding the alarm in our churches, organizations and businesses about the impact that caregiving is having on the 44+ million caregivers, caring. Nadine conducts Caregiver Symposiums/intensives for churches and lunch and learn series for area businesses. She is both an impassioned and impactful speaker and speaks around the country. Her book has received wide acclaim and now has a companion curriculum for colleges and universities. Dillard University’s School of Nursing is the first school to add the book to its nursing curriculum.
She partners with Inner City Health Center to provide breast, cervical and colon cancer education as part of her efforts to support the health of caregivers and others. In November, for National Family Caregiver’s Month, Nadine spearheads an effort to promote self-care among caregivers and partners with Five Wellbeing Spa to get caregivers in for special services and care.
Nadine has been married 20 years to Kevin Cornish, a Boulder County firefighter. She is the mother of one son, a writer and poet. Nadine is passionate about her work, passionate about caregiving and making a difference on purpose.
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Out of Tuesday’s Longevity discussion came a few key takeaways about how to maintain a positive mental well-being, and to help others do the same.