Mary’s practice focuses on helping family caregivers take care of themselves by maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle while providing care to their loved ones. One of her biggest concerns is the importance of those who are in care giving roles and in health care to take care of themselves in order to avoid burning out. Caregivers, professional or not must to be mindful of self-care. “The best way to be able to take care of others is to take care of you, first.”
Daily routines of life, throughout the illness and after death, can become stressful and frustrating when one becomes a caregiver. Often the caregiver has no clue or pre-warning, they are just thrust into the situation. During these times a caregiver will experience the best and worst that can happen to families. They will experience stress, frustration, fatigue, and anger from both angles which includes the whole family and/or the caregivers.
After facilitating a Caregivers Support Group for two years in our community, Mary quickly learned there was a need for on-going support for Caregivers and their families. This led Mary to pursue her business of Family Caregiver Transition Coach. Mary already had a career that included Family Advocacy Counseling with the US Marine Corp, A Pastoral Counselor with the Pastoral Counseling Center and facilitator of a Caregivers Support Group for two continuous years. Mary has served her community as a Nurse, Social Worker, Counselor (Mental Health/ Personnel) and a Psychologist. She retired a few years ago but decided that sitting down and doing nothing was not for her. Therefore, she has continued to learn and explore avenues where she can work with caregivers and to help them take care of themselves by providing a good listening ear, lessen stress and frustration while pointing caregivers in the direction of resources that will help in making life easier to handle and maintain.
2009, Mary attended the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, “Caring for You: Caring for Me, Center of Excellence in Aging, Williamsburg. This inspired her to become an instructor and instruct a “Caring for You: Caring for Me Course. Mary’s life has transformed many times through various careers and relationships, she has lived in England, Japan and many of the United States. No matter where she was located she found time to work with people within the local community. She started a volunteer “We Care” Program for youth who had gotten themselves in trouble. She co–developed a bridge program for 1st Generation College Students and her most recent workshop was presented to the Federal Community “Caregiving within the Federal Human Resources Community”. This workshop and course heighten the awareness of all who attend. Many said it was a subject that was often overlooked and not easily talked about. Mary, Family and Cargiving Coaching will help caregivers to explore living in the present, finding the joys, and creating a "new" normal for life.
Many of the workers at the Federal workshop were not aware that they were considered a “sandwich generation” caregiver, meaning they were caring for their own children and their parents at the same time. Often a person in such a role does not identify themselves as a caregiver until someone heightens their awareness. The main point is that caregivers must learn to take care of themselves as well as their loved ones. Along with the role of caregiver comes feelings of anger, stress, frustration, and guilt, while many forget the feelings of love, caring, appreciation, and immense satisfaction that caregiving can bring. Mary was particularly drawn to Families and Caregiver Coaching to help caregivers with the stress that caregiving brings and to help them to learn how to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle while caring for their loved one.
Caregiver coaching will help caregivers focus on what they need to do to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Caring for yourself is not selfish, it’s the greatest gift you can give your loved one. Helping the caregiver to develop awareness that taking care of their loved ones will be enhanced when they take care of themselves.
Mary agrees with Rosalyn Carter, who said it best: “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers”. Caregivers are needed for family members of all ages. With appropriate information and support, family caregivers can help their loved ones across the lifespan.
If you provide care for another person, whether you are a family member or a professional caregiver, you know that caregiving is hard, sometimes unappreciated work. But have you ever considered that it isn’t easy to be the care receiver?
“Caregiving is . . . about forming a relationship with another whom we might never have chosen to know. It is about doing all we do practically with the intention of growing into a relationship of respect, listening, presence, and truthfulness.”
Certified Life Coach;Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC); Licensed Social Worker (LSW); Licensed Mastered Level Psychologist; Nationally Counselor Certified (NCC); Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA), Chi Sigma Iota (Honor Society)
We Care Volunteer Program, Lorenzo Benn, Youth Development Campus, Atlanta, GA
Academic Bridge Program, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Couples Communications Group, Foster Chapel, Camp Smedley Butler, Okinawa, Japan, 2002, 2003
Book: Hearts and Eyes Dancing with Love published 2002; Sweet Offerings, Jan 2000
Divorce Care Workshop, St Paul UMC, Woodbridge, VA, 2000, 2001
Guest on Good Morning Talk Show (KFAB), Omaha, NE Aug. 11, 1998
Problems Ex-spouses of Military Face (paper), 1980; How I Met My Man, LadyCom Magazine 1977