Compassionate Caregiving: Leadership in caring for others

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen

As this month’s theme focuses on women in leadership, I wanted to acknowledge and express gratitude for the leadership exhibited by those who show their leadership through caregiving.

At first glance, our caregiving role seems built in. Women especially often hear they are the nurturing gender, the caregivers for families when they are growing.

They manage doctor appointments and pharmacy trips. Most are obsessed with first aid drawers at home. Are there enough

Band-Aids, antiseptic ointment, aspirin and cough syrup? They administrate the immunization record for each family member. They make sure the pets have been to the vet. They have a thermometer at the ready.

Although caregiving is prevalent when families are young, it remains a major theme throughout life.

The sacredness of it begins early. When we care for our young children, the role matures into full mastery as we offer ourselves later in life.

It also might be that caregiving becomes more natural as we do it more often. We aren’t necessarily trying to survive in being a young mother and getting our children to the 18-year-old finish line. We begin to realize that caregiving is a role that we integrate into our daily lives, for all of our lives.

We might be caring for an adult sibling, helping a spouse through a chronic illness or assisting our parents as they need more support. This caregiving is so comprehensive that it seems effortless.

Although it might seem that way to the observer, we know that it is an extremely demanding role. Yet, these individuals are gracious, kind, action-oriented and, above all, selfless. These are the special moments in life in which people give of themselves so generously. We see them offer their care, love and devotion in action through simple daily tasks.

We thank and honor all those who are caregivers. Your love and action inspire us. You devotion is a quiet but powerful force that makes your love and compassion visible for all to see. When we see your love in action, it inspires all of us to be more giving.

Blessed is the caregiver.

Laura Nissen is an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer who advocates for those with memory disorders. She works with families to help them learn the skills of caregiving. She also serves as a community educator, caregiver support group leader and Memory Café leader for the Alzheimer’s Association.

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