The Faith, Prayer and Relationships as a Caregiver Q&A with Peter Rosenberger Part 2
The Faith, Prayer and Relationships as a Caregiver
Q&A with Peter Rosenberger Part 2
Founder, Caregivers with Hope
Peter, you are an author, speaker, radio host, pianist, business owner, black belt in the martial arts, husband, father and caretaker. How do you do it all? What has helped you the most to thrive as a caregiver?
Someone once asked me, how do you find time to do all these things. I don’t find the time. I take the time. I’ve learned that when I am a healthier person, I’m a healthier caregiver. My wife benefits from me doing all of those things. It’s amazing what one hour at the piano will do for me, or a strenuous workout in martial arts. When I do those things, I push back against the loss of identity that cripples so many caregivers, and I establish who I am and make further progress in building a healthy sense of self and accomplishment. Also, I take time to be quiet. I’ve learned that if I don’t take time for stillness, I will have to make time for illness.
What exactly is Caregivers with Hope? Who does it help, and how?
Caregivers with Hope offers clear, proven, strategies and tools to guide caregivers towards a healthier lifestyle in every facet of their life. It also provides invaluable resources to counselors, clergy, and medical practitioners, as well as guidance to businesses who provide goods and services to caregivers on how they can better understand their caregiving customers and meet their felt needs.
Why is it important for caregivers to address their own needs?
Those who provide care to others are often so focused on meeting the needs of their loved one that they neglect their own. It doesn’t take long for the vitality and health of the caregiver to decline which results in compromised care for the loved one. The foundation of my message to caregivers is “a healthy caregiver is a better caregiver.”
What is your goal for the caregiver? What is their hope?
Most of the time, efforts directed to the caregiver are designed to make them feel better. While feelings may improve, they are usually short lived. My goal is to do more than make people feel better, I offer the tools and empowerment that will help them be better.
The hope of the caregiver is the conviction that we as caregivers can live a calmer, healthier and more joyful life even while dealing with the grim realities that accompany caregiving.
What do those who don’t face this challenge need to know about those who do?
To begin with, if we love someone, we will most likely one day be a caregiver. If we live long enough, we will need one.
Caregivers struggle with raw nerves, self-doubt, guilt, frustrations, and even resentment. People often say, “Let me know if there’s something I can do to help.” While a genuine and seemingly nice thing to say, it communicates several things to the caregiver:
The caregiver has to think of something you can do.
The caregiver has to work up the courage to ask you to do something.
The caregiver has to deal with the reality that you may not be able to do what they need.
The caregiver has to deal with the reality that if it is a one-time event, you may not do it well and they have to “clean it up” or go behind you and fix it.
The caregiver has to wrestle with the reality that you might do it once, but eventually they will have to resume the responsibility.
The caregiver has to take the time to train or instruct someone one how to do something.
What are some of the struggles or challenges that caregivers face?
Each caregiver struggles with the three “I’s.”
Loss of Identity
Loss of Independence
In addition, caregivers often deal with the following issues (FOG)
How can people help or support family caregivers?
Start by simply and quietly saying to them,
I see you (loss of identity).
I see the magnitude of what you are carrying.
I hurt for you.
Offer specific items of help.
“When’s the last time you saw your personal doctor. Can I arrange help with sitting with your loved one while you go?”
“I’m at the grocery store, can I pick you up something for you?”
“I use a company that cleans gutters. Can I pay for them to clean yours?”
Targeting the vast population of America’s 65 million volunteer caregivers of vulnerable loved ones, Peter Rosenberger compiles his lifetime of experience to offer a lifeline to his fellow caregivers. With an unparalleled journey as the sole caregiver for his wife, Gracie, for three decades through a medical nightmare that has mushroomed to 78 operations, the amputation of both legs, and $9 million in medical bills, Peter brings an astonishing understanding of health care issues, a deep compassion for the heartache of caregiving, and an outrageous humor to bring the fresh air of laughter into the painful places faced by America’s exponentially growing number of caregivers.
Through his new book, Hope for the Caregiver, and his weekly radio show for caregivers (broadcast from Nashville's music row on 1510 WLAC /IHEART.com), Peter offers practical and compassionate help and understanding to the massive number of caregivers. Peter and Gracie live in Nashville, TN.