The Whole Care Network is being built by caregivers – for caregivers. At the Whole Care Network, we believe it is through story sharing where diversity meets the road to combat a common cause.
The Whole Care Network is being developed as a multi-media, multi-channel platform for family caregivers to locate and share trusted resources and where they can find comfort and refuge through real-life stories – all while being personally validated in their caregiving journey by those who understand.
Our platform consists of audio, video, and written word through podcasts, live (video) events and blog posts. One of the unique features of the Whole Care Network is the majority of our show hosts are new to podcasting, yet have compelling stories to share and a willingness to be a resource for you in your caregiving journey.
At the Whole Care Network, we believe caregivers need three things:
Yes, caregiving is hard and it is okay to feel the way you feel.
It is important to set a daily intention for yourself while in the midst of your caregiving journey.
The best resources come from one caregiver to another to help bridge the gaps of service.
The Whole Care Network is being built by caregivers – for caregivers
At the Whole Care Network, we believe good health is a key element of happiness. The goal with our platform is to be a source of inspiration for you to be healthy before, during, and after your caregiving journey.
At the Whole Care Network, we personally understand the impact caregiving has on everyone involved with your care-team. We want to ensure we provide you, the family caregiver, the tools to help you be a healthy caregiver in body, mind and spirit.
Pillars of Health
The Whole Care Network is built upon four pillars of health and well-being; pillars that impact all aspects of our lives:
Physical | Social | Financial | Spiritual
The common theme with all four of pillars is to focus on you, the family caregiver.
Our show hosts align firmly with one or more of our four pillars. We’ve established our Resource Section to reflect these four pillars where you can find validation, respite, and resources to help you in your caregiving journey.
We encourage you, as you can, to set a “daily intention” for yourself while in the midst of your caregiving journey. Your daily intention can include any activity within one of the four pillars that impacts you as a family caregiver.
Your daily intention may just be getting 5 minutes a day, specifically for YOU!
There is only one rule on the Whole Care Network. Family caregivers are to focus on themselves, because we understand you are already are an expert in caring for someone else.
The Whole Care Network’s four pillars of good health and happiness consist of:
Our physical pillar focuses on your own personal health and well-being. At the Whole Care Network, we understand that that caregivers often put their own health and well-being on the back-burner while in the midst of caregiving.
The majority of time, caregivers’ focus is on the needs of someone else and as a result, are often considered “the hidden patient.”
Caregivers are often considered “the hidden patient”
According to a recent caregiving study by the National Alliance for Caregiving, “the toll of caregiving increases over time. Of those providing care five or more years, 20% report their health is fair or poor, compared with 14% of those who have been providing care for less than a year.”
Fatigue, stress and burnout will have an adverse effect on caregivers’ health and well-being. On the Whole Care Network, we encourage you to exercise, be active, and access the help you need. That help may be physical or emotional, both during and after your caregiving journey.
The Whole Care Network Social pillar focuses on your life outside your role as a family caregiver. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, “caregivers spend 24.4 hours a week providing care to their loved one.”
At the Whole Care Network, we understand the challenges family caregivers face juggling caregiving duties with everyday life. If you happen to be a working family caregiver, as well as raising children, you are part of the sandwich generation and you already know your time is limited.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness
Outside support is essential to the physical, emotional and social well-being of all parties involved in the caregiving experience. Our Social pillar encourages you to create a care team, stay active with your hobbies, and continue to live life with the best intentions. We offer a gentle, but important reminder, that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
Caregiving impacts caregivers’ careers and finances and if not kept in check, can have a negative impact on your financial health and your career. Here, we focus on how to manage that delicate balance.
According to AARP’s Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report, “family caregivers spend an average of $6,954 on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving, nearly 20 percent of their annual income.” It’s not uncommon for caregivers who work full- or part-time to have insufficient resources in the workplace to support their caregiving responsibilities.
We believe caregivers are not only silent leaders, but are servant leaders who can impact change in the workplace by their words, actions, and deeds. Another important component of our Financial pillar is the legal aspect of caregiving. At the Whole Care Network, we understand that virtually no one has caregiving on their bucket list of things that they would like to do in life.
Caregiving is an unplanned event that happens because of an unfortunate accident or an untimely diagnosis. Having a solid legal plan in place includes a Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Medical Directives, Do Not Resuscitate Order, Last Will and Testament, and more.
Having a thought-out legal plan it in place BEFORE the accident or diagnosis happens, will go a long way in making an already stressful situation, just a tad easier. We understand conversations like this are not easy, but necessary to ensure your, physical, social and emotional health.
In my book, “What’s the Deal with Caregiving?” I provide a framework for helping you plan and prepare.
At the Whole Care Network, we understand and respect that spirituality has different meanings for people of different faiths and beliefs. We understand caregiving is an intense experience that often asks you to give up the things you love in order to care for the one you love.
Caregiving takes on meaning that is beyond reproach, however when called to care, caregivers often find themselves suddenly thrust into a role they did no choose, nor for one did they prepare. At a moment’s notice, you become a caregiver without any warning or time to think things through.
We want to be that gentle reminder for you to stay in touch with your beliefs. We want you to center yourself by setting that daily intention for quiet time, or to relax, or to pray if need be.
There are two common aspects to caregiving. There is a beginning and an end. In most cases, we are not prepared for these either one of these two life changing events.
Each of our show hosts share the same core values at the Whole Care Network, focusing on Leadership and Communication. As you continue to develop your role as a family caregiver, you will recognize the most important task you face is that of an advocate for the person in your care.
Advocacy, without a doubt is the most important role of a caregiver. There are no close seconds. As the caregiver, you know the most intimate details of the one for which you care; do not hesitate to share your detailed knowledge with your health care team.
In your role as as advocate, never accept an easy answer from a health care professional, do your due diligence and get your questions answered. Another important role you play as an advocate is to take good care of your own health and well-being through the four pillars.
Often left unsaid, the person you care for knows that you are under a tremendous amount of stress. They also know you are their life-line.
Welcome to our journey on the Whole Care Network!
Christopher MacLellan, M.A.
Founder and CEO
The Whole Care Network