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Bloggers use the Silver Quill to encourage hospice caregivers

By Terre Mirsch

Did you know that 30 percent of American adults care for a loved one?

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, of these caregivers, nearly 88 percent utilize the internet to obtain health information.

Since the inception of Caring with Confidence, I have had the privilege of ‘meeting’ caregivers from all walks of life, from all different parts of the country. Many of them have their own blogs, where they share their experiences- both the stressors and the joys- of caregiving. Following them has provided me with greater insights into their challenges- things as seemingly simple as delivery of medical equipment designed to support home safety can upset the familiar routines of caregivers and their loved ones. I am grateful to those who share so freely and openly so that we can all learn, and so that we can all support each other- even when we are many miles away.

One of our followers, Terry1954, writes about her caregiving experiences as she cares for her brother Al who is living with Parkinson’s disease.  Terry is an avid blogger and a loyal follower of Caring with Confidence. This week Terry nominated Caring with Confidence for the Silver Quill Blogger Award.  Thank you Terry! We are honored to accept and appreciate the recognition.

Blogging Awards provide a fun opportunity to share insights with others while also spreading the word about other bloggers that we have discovered. Typically there is a series of questions that one answers in addition to passing the award forward by nominating others.  In the spirit of the award, I would like to nominate the following blogs for the Silver Quill Blogger award:

Conscious Departures– Ira Woods shares with us his insights from caring for his wife, K., as we plan for “what ultimately lies ahead”.

Let’s Talk About Family– In this blog, we learn about the trials and tribulations of caring for an elderly parent and the challenges of navigating the health care system.

Middlescapes– With Beth’s recent losses, she has transformed her blog as an opportunity to explore the transformative and spiritual process of aging.

Baby Boomers and More– Irene shares the delights, and challenges of being a Baby Boomer. I especially enjoy Lighten Up Mondays. As caregivers, we all need a few moments of humor each week!

The Clothes are in the Stove– This blog shares a family’s journey through illness, dementia, and death.

Since Caring with Confidence is a team effort, I reached out to my blogging partners and asked them for their insights and collaboration. We answer the required questions from our professional views, rather than personal, as a way to share some resources with our caregiver followers.

  1. Do you prefer rhyming or non-rhyming poetry? There was no consensus from the team on this question but I feel confident in saying that any poetry, whether rhyming or not, that brings meaning to our lives is preferred. Poetry and other readings can provide opportunity for self reflection and insights that cannot be found through other forums. I encourage caregivers to use writing as a forum for self expression- whether that is reading the work of others or engaging in some creative writing yourself.
  2. What’s our favorite Shakespeare play? Yikes! This is a tough one! I’m not sure that I could name a favorite Shakespeare play but when I think about plays or movies that are relevant to our work I think of a few. The Tony award-winning play Wit was first to come to mind. I also recall some relevant movies, the most recent being The Descendants.
  3. Who is your favorite author? While the Caring with Confidence team had no specific author in mind, we would like to share some of our favorite books that may be benefit to those caring for others at end of life:
      • Dying Well by Ira Byock, M.D.;
      • The Four Things That Matter Most, also by Ira Byock, M.D.;
      • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch;
      • Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley;
      • Walking on Eggshells: Caring for a Critically Ill Loved One by Amy Sales, MSW, LCSW-C;
      • The Need of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life’s Final Chapter by David Kessler; and
      • Kitchen Table Wisdom-Stories that Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

4.  Name three people who you greatly admire. This list could be endless but the three people who instantly come to my mind are Mother Theresa, Dame Cicely Saunders, and Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Care of the dying would not be what it is today if it were not for these wonderful mentors who dared to make a difference.

5.  What’s your favorite album ever? Music is so personal and we believe that it is so important, when we think about the role of music as we care for a loved one, that we ensure our choices are consistent with their preferences- not ours. Personally, I love piano music and just about anything by George Winston or from the Windham Hills selections would be welcomed.

6.  Which primary color do you most dislike? I would have to say that I avoid red in any health care environment and would much prefer the soothing earth tones to any of the primary colors.

7.      Name a song or a poem that makes you feel emotional.

We’ll answer this by sharing this reading:

Let us all understand that death is not an eraser. It does not remove the deeds or the meanings that existed in anyone’s life. It does not make poor men rich or great men fallible. And when death comes, let us see death for what it really is: a border that we must all cross; a border that, more than any other, defines the lives we are able to lead. As you mourn for those who have crossed over, reflect on the definition they’ve left behind. It is the only truth we are able to know here on earth. When the definition is great, then celebrate it. When it is lacking, then learn from it and improve on it. Use it to make your own definition more truthful and loving and miraculous.

From the reading “Gideon” by Russell Andrews

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. thank you so much for mentioning my name. i seek out your blogs because in many unspoken ways you help me, and for this, i am blessed. thank u so much

    September 24, 2012
    • You are so welcome, Terry. Thank you again for nominating us and speaking so fondly of the support that you get from our blog. Our ability to provide widespread support and guidance to caregivers is exactly why we started Caring with Confidence.

      September 25, 2012
  2. Thank you Terre, and congratulations on your Silver Quill Award! It was very kind of you to mention Conscious Departures and I am grateful for the nomination. You are providing a much needed service with this blog to the many millions (50 million now?) of non-paid caregivers who are at time stumbling their way through situations and experiences they are hardly, if at all, prepared for. I wish I had known about this community and your blogsite while I cared for Kris, I needed it so much.

    September 24, 2012
    • Thank you Ira and, as always, thank you for following Caring with Confidence. Too many caregivers feel isolated and unsupported throughout their caregiving journey. Social media and the blogging forum provide an opportunity for caregivers to get information and support any time of the day or night. I am grateful that we are able to help bridge the gap through our blog and am thankful that there are other sites like yours that help to do the same.
      Thank you again,

      September 25, 2012

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