Share the Care: A Caregiver Puts Theory into Practice

“I can imagine what you must be going through.” No you can’t. Platitudes and a plethora of empty words came at me from most of my world when I was a caregiver  for my husband and mother-in-law. Honestly, I don’t believe those people didn’t mean well, but if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem; so, to avoid conversations like these, I removed myself from external noise and concentrated on the tasks at hand. Isolation was my way, and it’s not necessarily the right way. Had I known then what I know now, I might have asked for help and discovered that people can be far more generous than I ever gave them credit for.

Last week I hosted a gathering at my loft for my friend Veronica and her husband Stu, where twenty-five giving souls came together to volunteer to “Share the Care.” About two months before they got married, the groom was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor and had his first surgery in May—just weeks before the wedding, which went on as planned and made for a glorious day. Now, six months, two surgeries and some treatment later, my friend was advised, by her friend Candice, to try something that she had done while she was being treated for breast cancer. Bring a group of friends together and ask for their help. Come prepared with an organized list of projects and needs—both business and personal—and let the volunteering begin.

Everyone received the list and a sign-in sheet that asked for personal skill sets and what they thought they could help with. People volunteered for everything from filing, to dog walking, to grocery shopping, to speech therapy, to creating an online art gallery, to just plain being there. It was amazing. Candice, having experienced the process before, kept everyone on topic (an amazing feat in and of itself) and within two hours, the list of over twenty items had volunteers assigned to their chosen tasks.

“Share the Care” is a book and a website where you can learn to organize a group to care for someone who is seriously ill. It’s meant for people who are new to caregiving and don’t know what to do and for caregivers who are burned out and just can’t manage without help anymore. For more information, visit

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