Just a circle of people and a flip chart. No Power-point presentation. No famous guest speaker. No swag to take home.
They met for three evenings of practice. They imagined themselves sitting with friends who were overwhelmed by the challenge of caring for someone with a life-threatening disease. They imagined being at the bedside of a loved one whose options for treatment had been exhausted. They imagined the emergency room, the discharge meeting, the hospice chaplain coming to visit. They practiced conversations. They shared ideas about what to say, how to say it, which questions would harm and which would heal.
By the end, thirteen people were ready to be more helpful, more loving, more engaged at times when their elders and other loved ones need them most.
Caregiving is as old as time, but modern medicine and post-modern culture make it rather more challenging. Chronic Care Community Corps, which led this seminar series, understands that as the population ages (By 2030, almost 20% of all Americans will be 65 or older) and as our health care system remains fragmented, depersonalized, and cost-driven, all of us will become care-givers. All of us will need to help ensure the goals of care for our loved ones are clear and intentional.
What can we do to make sure our friends and neighbors in Watertown have an ally in their time of need? The thirteen folks who sat in this circle have some answers. What are yours?