How to Tell Your Story: Tips & Tricks

By Allyson R. Rempel, LSW - St. Kate's MSW intern
 
Caregiver Services wants to hear your caregiving story! We are beginning to collect stories from caregivers, but we want to prep you with some simple tips & tricks to remember. By telling my own caregiving story several times, I have noticed several simple strategies that may help you tell yours:
1. Consider your audience. Think about whom you are telling your story to and how that should affect what you say. For example, if I am telling my best friend my story, I do not leave out any details. There is nothing too inappropriate to mention. Other times, I am sharing my story with fellow caregivers. Though someone who has been a caregiver can relate to many of the details, they are a stranger, and I want to preserve some personal facts while maintain the dignity of the person I cared for.
2. Think about the purpose of telling your story. Your story is very personal and important to you, but not every detail has a purpose for the audience. Think about what exactly you want to communicate. Consider the following questions:
  •  Who do you provide care for and for how long have you provided care?
  •  How did you become a caregiver?
  •  What were/are the best and worst parts of caregiving?
  •  What were/are the easiest and most difficult parts?
  •  How did being a caregiver change you as a person?
Make a list of your main points. Keep in mind that you want to balance the positives and negatives, the difficult things and easy things, etc. What points are vital to your story?
3. Start writing! Use your list of main points to guide you. Ask yourself what each detail adds to the story - if it doesn't add anything, don't include it.
Feel free to send us your stories of triumph and success at different points of your journey! We would like to support you during the highs and the lows of your journey.

Caregiver Education Opportunities

Powerful Tools for Caregivers 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a six week program designed to provide caregivers with the tools they need to take care of themselves, from managing their emotions to better communicating. The program was developed in Portland, OR, and has been shown to improve self-care behaviors, management of emotions, self-efficacy, and use of community resources. The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program has reached over 70,000 family caregivers. $40 covers class fee and handbook. For more information or to register, please call 651-280-2273 or email caregiver@wilder.org.
 
Wilder is currently registering for the following two classes:
Afternoon Series
Each Thursday starting March 14th and ending April 18th
12:00pm-1:30pm
St. Paul JCC, 1375 Saint Paul Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55116
Evening Series
Each Monday starting February 18th and ending March 25th
6:00pm-7:30pm
Wilder Foundation Community Services for Aging
650 Marshall Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55104
 
"About the time the class began, I was about at my wits end. The communication tools will work toward maintaining a better atmosphere and contribute to improved attitudes for both of us... it will never be easy, but it is easier than it was 6 weeks ago!" --Caregiver
 
"There was a common bond. We were all dealing with some of the same issues. We shared our stories and learned ways to cope. I learned that it was important to take care of me." --Caregiver
 
Wilder Foundation is a member of Eldercare Partners, www.eldercarepartners.org. Sponsored by Eldercare Partners, and funded under contract with the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging Inc. as part of the Older Americans Act Program funding.

Spring Memory Loss Series Upcoming Dates

Wilder will be hosting two early stage memory loss programs in April. Please contact Kathryn Ringham for additional information and to begin the initial screenings at 651-280-2295 or email kathryn.ringham@wilder.org.

Living Well Program

The Living Well program is beginning screenings for our next series. This 12 week program on Thursdays is designed for those who have early-stage memory loss and their caregivers. The program provides comprehensive health, fitness, education, creative arts, and other community outing opportunities that will engage and improve daily life. Caregivers are offered a time once a month to get together and chat about their situations with others that can easily relate, as well as an opportunity for respite.

Screenings are required and there is a reasonable rate based on income level. A free membership to the St. Paul JCC is included. The program is held at the St. Paul JCC on 1375 St. Paul Avenue in Saint Paul, 55116 from 9:30am-1:45pm. To schedule a screening interview, plesase call Sue Ryan at 651-280-2290 or email susan.ryan@wilder.org.
 
In partnership with the Alzheimer's Association and the St. Paul JCC, this activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Share Your Story: Caregiver Writing Series–April 2013

Writing together and sharing stories in a safe, supportive and nurturing community is a great way to connect with others, practice self-care and give yourself some much needed “me” time by exploring the gifts of your personal stories, thoughts, feelings and dreams as they come alive on the page. Please join writer, teacher and writing therapist Roxanne Sadovsky for this peaceful series of writing, healing, creativity, fun and sharing. No writing experienced needed, all caregivers welcome.
 
Wilder is partnering with the Loft Literary Center to provide this eight week series. For more information, please contact Caregiver Services at 651-280-CARE. We will be hosting a summer and fall series as well, so let us know if you are interested in receiving more information! 
 
 
The partnership with The Loft Literary Center to provide literary programming at Wilder Adult Day Center and Hamline Hi-rise has been made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fun Valentine's Day Ideas for Caregivers!   

Staying In?
Spouse: Relive old memories: go through old photos or recreate your first date
Adult Child: Host a game night, with board games and puzzles
Neighbor/Friend: Ladies--have a spa night full of manicures, chocolate and laughter
Sweet Stuff!
Spouse: Indulge yourselves with desserts from Cafe Latte
Adult Child: Bake chocolate chip cookies or mocha chocolate cake together
Neighbor/Friend: Enjoy a mug or two of hot chocolate while rustling through old photo albums
Animal Lovers
Spouse: Visit the Minnesota Zoo or Como Zoo for their Valentine's Day events
Adult Child: Visit the closest Animal Humane Society and treat a pet with a new toy
Neighbor/Friend: Offer to go on a walk with your neighbor/friend and their furry little friend
Enjoy the Small Things of Life...
Spouse: Grab coffee/tea at a new coffee shop and walk the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis
Adult Child: Create a collage of old photos, then frame it and hang somewhere in the home
Neighbor/Friend: Wake up early and watch the sun rise from Mounds Park in Saint Paul.
 
 

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Do you have any burning questions you would love to have answered regarding caregiving? Or do you have suggestions for future articles, tips or resources? Drop us a line and let us know what would be most helpful for you in your caregiving journey:
 
Have any ideas where we could go with our mobile outreach to bring awareness to the community about caregiving and the services that are available? Let us know! 651-280-CARE or caregiver@wilder.org
 

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