Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Place to Go.

Several of my support group members have, in the last six months or so, lost their care receivers. They have stepped out of the role of caregiver for their care receiver. The years of care and worry and dedication, the hours of struggle, and labor, incredibly hard work have ended. They are now finding themselves in the role of widow/widower; tired from the journey and the struggle and wondering – what now?

This can be one of the unspoken truths about caregiving – that it does, ultimately, end – and, that the caregiver will most likely be exhausted and bewildered and just plain worn out. They are the ones who could now use some care and looking after, only where can that be found, outside of family?
A few years ago, I learned about a respite center in Washington called, Harmony Hill.
Here is a description of the organization from their website.

Harmony Hill began with Gretchen Schodde’s dream to create a retreat center where people could experience renewal and deep well-being. In 1986, Harmony Hill opened its doors as a small nonprofit retreat facility focusing on wellness.

In 1994, Harmony Hill added our Cancer Program, the heart of our mission, to provide support for those affected by a cancer diagnosis including caregivers and health professionals. In 2004, our cancer related programs became free for all participants.  

Today, Harmony Hill serves thousands of visitors each year through our many programs, including those living with cancer, those who seek a retreat away from their daily lives or those who want to make healthy changes in their lifestyle.  We also rent out our buildings/facilities to individuals and groups and offer everything from personal retreats to conferences, and are known for our generous hospitality and nurturing staff, as well as our delicious meals and spectacular site.   Our rental customers have the added benefit of knowing that when they come to the Hill they are helping to support our mission.”

just thought that was such a great idea, and such a great place to go. I haven’t had a chance to visit it yet but I definitely want to. I urge those caregivers who have recently suffered a loss to find a similar place in their area, or, barring that, take some time off, away whether it’s camping, or traveling, or going to a spa for a massage.

You have just been through an incredible ordeal – caregiving – followed by the stress of whatever funeral or service came after it. You deserve rest, respite, time to think and be alone, time to be cared for, to recover your strength and well-being, to just recover yourself. Don’t jump back into life and whatever needs to be done – at least if you can help it. Now is the time to take care of yourself – or better yet – let someone else take care of you!


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