You are a caregiver, will be a caregiver or will need a caregiver sometime in your life.
That is a reality most people face. But it is a reality not easily faced alone.
Patty Day and Ken Czillinger want to help.
Their free two-session program, Heart to Heart Conversations for Today’s Caregivers, will held starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Oct. 29, at the Lawrenceburg Public Library, 150 Mary St.
The former hospice workers know first-hand from professional and personal experiences, the trials and tribulations of being a caregiver. They want to use that knowledge to help others.
“The information we provide is appropriate for everyone. ... A lot of people are unprepared for the caregiver role they signed up for,” said Day, a Dearborn County resident.
Day was a long-distance caregiver for her mother, father and 98-year-old aunt while working full-time in hospice. Her last job as a nurse was hospice coordinator for Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville. After receiving her nursing degree in her 40s, she decided her heart belonged working with hospice patients, after she saw how other nurses treated the elderly in hospice care.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “65.7 million caregivers make up 29 percent of the U.S. adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. Caregiver services also “were valued at $450 billion per year in 2009- up from $375 billion in year 2007,” said Day.
After dealing with the deaths of his parents and a brother at early ages, Czillinger a guardian and caregiver for his other brother, who had Down Syndrome, for over 40 years. He taught a course for many years called Life through Death, mostly for nurses, at Mt. St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.
A lot has been written about the subject of caregivers. Their niche is heart-to-heart conversations, said Czillinger, Cincinnati.
While some families are very open with each other, it is the other extreme for some families, he said.
Czillinger and Day originally met at a hospice, no longer in existence in Hamilton, and became friends, he said.
Last winter, Day decided to contact him after being out of touch for awhile. That is when they started developing the idea for the heart-to-heart program, said Day, who started a blog and Facebook page about caregiving at the encouragement of her daughter, who is a writer.
But she knows many people her age are not computer savvy. She wants to reach more people who need help, especially in the rural areas where there may be fewer resources, she said.
They are offering the program in Dearborn County first, as a pilot program, said Czillinger.
“We hope to start here and spread out a little bit,” said Day.
During the first session at the library, Day and Czillinger will talk about their experiences as caregivers and ask those attend to share their experiences. The second session will “focus on learning several conversation skills designed to help you reduce, or even avoid, unmet expectations – the No. 1 cause of hurt.”
“It is important to have realistic expectations and to voice your expectations,” said Czillinger.
Sometimes it is helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes look at a situation, he said.
One of the biggest concerns people express is how they cannot stop feeling guilty about not being able to take care of their mom or dad at home, not being able to fulfill a promise, said Day.
It is difficult for people to try to work and meet their family responsibilities, she said.
To learn more about Day and Czillinger, go to patriciaday.wordpress.com or go to the Heart2Heart Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/pattys.heart2heart. Czillinger also often recommends a book called The Four Things that Matter Most by Ira Byock for caregivers to read.