You have come to the right place if...

You’ve never been a caregiver.

You don’t know what to do.

You’ve been a caregiver for a long time.

Now your own health is at risk.

You’re a patient who lives alone with

no family nearby to provide support.

You know a sole caregiver who is struggling.

There is a way you can help.

Welcome to

SHARE THE CARE™

Whether you’re a burned out caregiver or a novice caregiver, or a friend who wants to help, you can benefit from a system that lets everyone share responsibilities, creates a strong support network among the individual caregivers and leads to making a profound difference in someone’s life.

Since 1995, Share The Care™ (STC) has been the highly regarded guidebook and resource used by caregivers and their friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances as a loving, pragmatic approach to caregiving that can succeed no matter what the challenge.

Sharing the caregiving brings out the very best in each of us.

STC Model Details Step-By-Step How To:

  • Create a “caregiving family” of friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances to answer the question all concerned friends and neighbors have asked

  • Hold a meeting to transform and bond a group of people who may not know know each other

  • Organize using a simple, easy-to-follow system, seven guiding principles, and 23 forms to guarantee every job will get done and no one person will have too much to do

  • Uncover the group’s skills and talents, make the most of their resources and connections, cope with group issues, and stick together through the good times and the tough times

  • Navigate through the medical maze of doctors, hospitals, treatments, medications and much more

  • Deal with the fears, and the emotional issues that will crop up while helping someone who is facing their own mortality

  • Transform caregiving into a meaningful, loving experience, and replace stress, fear, and loneliness with teamwork, courage, and friendship

The STC model came into being through the personal experiences of the authors and 10 other women who came together to help care for a mutual friend. They worked together for nearly four years developing a unique system of caregiving as well as deep friendships that last to this day.

The book was written so others could easily create their own “caregiving family.” Click here to read How STC Was Born

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have used STC successfully and reported it to be a truly “life changing” experience.

Getting Started

No matter what the circumstance – STC can make a difference. The model supports, not just the care recipient, but also the primary caregiver as well as their entire family.

And if the person needing support has no family nearby their STC group becomes their “family.”

Bringing everyone together for a first group meeting is a job for two committed friends who will work with the caregiver and care recipient to figure out who to invite and what kind of help will be needed. STC provides guidance for them every step of the way.

STC supports the elderly in need of assistance so they can avoid isolation and depression while they age in place.

Groups have provided extra loving care for quadruplets, triplets, preemies, or to support moms with little children through a difficult pregnancy. They have sustained widow(ers) with small children, as well as a grandparents raising grandkids.

For a working caregiver STC can provide peace of mind. Knowing that their loved one has home support, or someone checking on them and available to provide assistance in the case of an emergency.

The STC model works for any issue that requires teamwork. Just use your imagination.

How to form an STC Group

As described in the video interview, the STC model came into being through the personal experiences of the authors and 10 other women who wanted to “be there” for their mutual friend–a divorced working mom with two teens and a diagnosis of a rare cancer. While they cared for her over a period of nearly four years, they developed a unique system of caregiving as well as deep friendships that last to this day.  (Click here to read How STC Was Born)

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have used STC successfully and reported it to be a “life changing” experience.

First Step

Acceptance: The first step is agreeing to allow others to help. One cannot take this step for granted.  It is an emotional decision that may require a bit of time and patience to reach.  However, if there is a crisis, there may not be the luxury of time.  Having a plan like STC is critical.

Often we see caregivers and/or care recipients who are reluctant or resistant to accepting support even though it makes a lot of sense. It may help the care recipient to realize that their group will most certainly gain something personally from the experience.

Why a STC group makes sense:

    The Caregiver:

  • Is overwhelmed and the stress is affecting his or her health

  • Needs to go back to work or school

  • Won’t have to continually “ask for help”

  • Can find support for the whole family while caring for their loved one who is ill

    The Care Recipient:

  • Has an illness that will progress and require increasing amounts of care

  • Can experience a better quality of life through the support of others who care

  • Can enjoy better quality time with family

  • With no family nearby, benefits by having a “created family”

    The Individual Group Participant:

  • May never have been a caregiver. He or she can learn how in the company of veteran caregivers in the group

  • Might discover purpose or a new perspective on life during the experience

  • Can become aware of strengths and resources within each of them that they never knew existed

  • Learns firsthand what a group is capable of achieving

First Meeting

The job of getting a group up and running requires two people. Chapters 2-9 in the handbook are written specifically to them with step-by-step directions for working with the care recipient/caregiver. (click here to see Table of Contents)

Organizing the first meeting is not something the family caregiver nor for the care recipient should attempt to take on.

We call these two people, for the purpose of organizing the group only, the leader and the coordinator. They work with the caregiver and/or care recipient to determine two key issues:

  • Who to invite to the meeting

  • What kind of help will be needed

There are lists of suggestions in the planning chapters.

Next they will read and follow the directions for putting together the meeting that is modeled on the first one held by the original STC group. It is scripted making it easy for them to move quickly through the time needed and cover each and every aspect of bonding the group members and to introduce the forms and systems they will be using.

We suggest once a group is operational that the STC book be circulated among the participants so that everyone can benefit from the suggestions, examples, and ideas.

Materials needed to help you start

Purchase the STC handbook online

Download the STC Forms needed for the First Meeting

Download the STC Forms to manage group activities

Download advice for keeping your group together

First Weeks suggestions, 7 Principles

The Swimmers

Table of Contents & Excerpts

INTRODUCTION

FORWARD BY Sukie Miller, Ph.D.

1. How This Book Came to Be Written 

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ANOTHER GROUP IS FORMED

Susan died on September 14, 1991. Six months later, we got a phone call from a woman who had been a friend of Susan’s. Her name was Francine, and she had been suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for many years. She had met Susan at Cancer Care, a support group for patients, and they stayed in touch while Francine’s cancer went into remission and Susan’s grew worse. Susan often spoke of her Funny Family to Francine. After Susan died, Francine’s cancer reappeared and she was told she needed to have several courses of chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that would leave her in a weak and vulnerable state for most of a year. Her aging parents and her sixteen-year-old daughter had been her only caregivers, and she was worried that coping with this dangerous and difficult treatment would be too much for them.

Francine described what she was about to go through, explained that she had a lot of friends who were trying to help but didn’t know how, and then in a timid voice asked if we thought she might need a Funny Family.

Our first reaction was to say, “Great,” Our second was, “Maybe Dr. Miller can lead it.” But Francine wasn’t into therapy and neither were most of her friends, and she wasn’t comfortable with that idea. She wanted us to lead the meeting. The prospect of leading the meeting without Dr. Miller was daunting. Even though Cappy and I had both been in hundreds of business meetings, this was different. This involved people’s lives. We knew that if we did it well we could actually help change the course of the next year for Francine and her friends.

We went to see Dr. Miller and told her we didn’t know if we could do this meeting without her. She said that indeed we could — and even do it better than she because we had lived through it. She instructed us to gather the members of Susan’s group and Francine and her friends and simply do a set of sharing exercises. We would share who we were and how we had come to know Susan; they would share who they were and how they knew Francine. We would share what we got out of being in Susan’s group; they would share what they hoped to get out of being in Francine’s group. We would not position ourselves as experts but merely give them the information, systems and forms we had developed over the course of three and a half years of taking care of Susan. We did not have to have all the answers, she said. All we had to do was share from the heart and keep the meeting on track.

We asked Francine to make a list of her friends and acquaintances who might want to help, and then sat down and tried to remember what had been the most important things in our (first) meeting with Dr. Miller and what had made a difference. In preparing for the meeting, we were surprised at the wealth of experience and information we had to pass on.

We consulted with Dr. Miller, planned the evening carefully, and divided it into two parts. In part one we would do the exercises we had done with Dr. Miller, and in part two we would pass along the practical worksheets we had developed.

When we called the members of Susan’s group, having not spoken to many of them for months, we were an immediate family. All twelve original members wanted to participate. Francine called to say fourteen of her friends were coming. The night of the meeting came. We had exercises to do and forms to give out. We had sandwiches, soft drinks, and cookies to have during a break. We had name tags for everyone.

The room was full of confusion as well as love and an intense desire to help. Francine was very nervous. Her friends were apprehensive. We were apprehensive. But the minute we began to share who we were and what we had done, the atmosphere in the room changed. We shared our experiences and memories, and realized that along with the difficulties and the pain, there had also been laughter, profound insights and miracles.

As Francine’s friends talked, it was very moving to see how much they cared for her, how much they wanted to help. There was a lot of warmth, laughter, and many tears as Francine talked about her illness, what she needed, how difficult it was for her to ask for help. We passed out the forms we had developed and explained the systems we had inaugurated. We watched in amazement as her friends began to see what was needed, to move themselves into commitment, to plan the practical steps they needed to take, and to bond together as a group.

We will never forget the special power of that evening as a group of well-meaning but frightened, unsure people became Francine’s Funny Family right before our eyes! Here are some of the things her friends had to say:

“I felt many things at that meeting. Sadness about Francine’s illness, the realization of what could happen in the future, pride in seeing my ‘sisters’ giving unconditionally, and the feeling that Francine felt privileged and felt our love.”  (l.N.)
“It was an incredible experience and I felt very lucky to be there. It was all I could talk about for weeks.”   (K.T.)
“It felt very spiritual because of all the love in the room. I have never felt anything like that before. I remember thinking that Francine has given us such a gift of sharing and how lucky I was to be chosen.”   (B.B.)
“I recall the organization and effort that went into the meeting. The dedication and commitment of Susan’s Funny Family. The fact that Susan had no relatives nearby. How collectively everyone was able to assist Susan and the honesty and ‘nondenial’ of Susan’s disease.”   (C.R.)

The next morning, we realized that something unique had happened. We had found a way to share the burden of coping with serious illness, a way to take care of the caregiver. We realized how helpful it would have been if everything we had learned had been written down, and we resolved to document our caregiving system in a book. As we began to work on it, we realized that we were uniquely suited to the task. One of us had never been a caregiver and had been scared to death, and the other had nearly burnt out being a caregiver. Between us, we covered the two categories of caregivers struggling with serious illness today.

Since that first meeting we have started many other caregiver groups, refining the meeting but basically following the same format. Each time, no matter who is in the group, no matter how much fear or resistance there is, no matter whether the person has been sick for a long time or has just found out about the illness, we have been moved by the goodness of people, by the deep desire to help and the longing to be part of something meaningful.

This Book Is For You If...

  • You’ve never been a caregiver and someone with a serious, complex, demanding illness turns to you for help. You love them, want to be there for them, but you are afraid.

  • You’re already taking care of someone who is ill and your own life is beginning to fall apart; you’re tired and burnt out and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else to help.

Now you don’t have to do it all alone. No matter how scared you are no matter how sick they are, whether you’ve been a “joiner” or led a meeting, with the help of this book you can create a group to Share The Care™ (STC). You can make caregiving a less stressful, healing, and meaningful experience for everyone. You can take total care of the person you love—and take care of yourself too.

2. Do you need a Caregiver Group? Chapter Two

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YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL

You don’t have to be a therapist, nurse, or specialist to do this. It requires no professional training, but it uses all the skills you already have. It doesn’t cost anything, yet it could save weeks, months, even years of your life.

When Dr. Miller first asked Susan to invite her friends to a meeting Susan said there were only one of two people who would come. But Dr. Miller persisted until finally Susan came up with eighteen names. Twelve of us came. We were from different pockets of Susan’s life... from her office, from PTA meetings, from the summer house we shared. Some of us were old friends, some casual acquaintances. Most of us were complete strangers to each other.

We were in our thirties, forties and fifties. We were single, married, gay, straight, divorced, with children and without, one of us a grandmother. We had a wide variety of occupations. Some of us were highly successful, other struggling and unemployed. Among the people who came to the meeting were an actress, an advertising executive, a housewife, a hairdresser, a corporate executive and a secretary.

We lived as close as upstairs and as far away as the next state. Later, the group expanded to include Susan’s cousin, a sister of one of the members (who was a nurse), a voice teacher and a jazz pianist.

Although we were a competent, intelligent group, one of us had ever dealt with a terminally ill person for any extended period, none of us had any special training (except the nurse, who said being in the group gave her a whole new perspective on caregiving), and none of us had ever coped with the dying and death of a young woman who was a friend.

When we started, we knew very little about disease, doctors, hospitals, and nothing of the intense needs of the chronically ill people. But we stayed together for three and a half years. During that time, several members were added to the group, only one person dropped out, and no one experienced “burnout.”

Listen to some of the people who were apprehensive about being in a caregiver family and did it anyway:

“I just had such a need to do something for Lois. Whatever that was going to be, I had no idea. I needed to be part of her life and to help her in any way possible. I also wanted a better understanding of what she was to go through so that it could possibly alleviate some of my own terror concerning cancer. She was so strong–I needed to witness her strength. After being part of her (group), I realized how strong she was but also how strong I could be. I learned about choosing life from her and the trials an individual’s body must sometimes endue. My own priorities in life are now being re-examined.”   (W.F.)
When Susan asked me to come to the first meeting, I felt apprehensive. I didn’t know most of the people coming. Was I getting involved in something uncomfortable, overwhelming, and possibly bigger than I wanted to deal with or commit to? Afterwards, I was glad I had been there, to be part of a vital group of women, an interesting, colorful, diverse group who would touch each other’s lives by helping a friend.   (L.T.)

3. How To Take the First Steps in Forming a Share The Care™(STC) Group Chapter Three

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THEY BELIEVE NO ONE CAN HELP

Most seriously ill people believe no one can do anything to help, and it’s not surprising. They’ve been given horrendous diagnoses, been wheeled under huge frightening machines, and been confronted by a confusing set of options for treatments and drugs by a high tech, overburdened medical establishment that can be impersonal and cold. They’ve had doctors tell them that even they may not be able to help. They feel suddenly alone, different from everyone else. When what they’re facing is so huge, so catastrohphic, they can’t imagine it could help just to have someone to talk to, someone to go to a doctor with them, someone to hold their hand. Maybe they were never very well taken care of when they were young, so they don’t believe anyone can take care of them.

THEY FEAR LOSING CONTROL

Another reason they may not want help is the fear of losing control. Maybe they’ve survived other tragedies by retaining control. Maybe they’ve never confronted the fact that one day we will all lose control. In our fast-paced, chaotic, demanding world, most of us have spent years trying to gain control over our lives. We build fences and fortresses, put in alarm systems, and amass fortunes to protect ourselves. We live in a culture that tries to control the climate with air conditioning; the sun with SPF; aging with diets, vitamins and cosmetic surgery; the mind with medication; the future with astrologers; the personality with drugs. To be suddenly told we have a fatal disease and must immediately have surgery and radiation or we will die, to confront the random mystery of cancer or AIDS or Alzheimer’s is at odds with everything we have been told, everything we would like to believe.

Furthermore, the idea that we can no longer take care of ourselves brings up our deepest fears and our deepest wounds. We all want to take care of ourselves. From our first step to our first bicycle to our first job, we are proud of being able to support ourselves, to contribute, to be part of things. Suddenly we feel we may no longer be useful or needed.

Asking for help means admitting how sick we are, and people with a serious illness have so many doctor appointments, so many trips to the hospital, so many crises, that they would have to ask and ask and ask. Every time they ask they feel more helpless, more out of control. Every time they ask, they feel they are imposing on their friends and driving them away.

THEY FEAR LOSING THEIR PRIVACY

There are other fears. Most of us value our privacy and we fear that if we let a group into our lives, we will lose it. We won’t have our space. They will find out our secrets. Many people are uncomfortable in groups, preferring one-one-one situations. Usually, people who are ill have come to rely heavily on one or two people and, being obsessed with their own tragedy (understandably), have no idea what a burden they have become. So the idea of a whole group coming into their life, their home, even with the best intentions, may be viewed by the sick person as loss of that one special caregiver. They may feel that the group would bond together, leaving them out, or even be against them.

4. How to use this book  Chapter Four

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THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES

During the years that Susan’s Group was in operation, certain issues came up again and again. In dealing with these issues, we discovered there were some guiding principles that seemed to hold all of us together through the good times and the tough times. They were somehow keys to our ability to work together and they proved themselves over and over. We call them The Seven Principles, and as you prepare to take part in a caregiver group we urge you to keep these points in mind. Click here to download them as a PDF.

PART 2

STARTING YOUR GROUP AND MAKING IT RUN

5. A Message from the Authors: How to Use This Section

6. Planning the Meeting: Getting Started Chapter Six

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FINDING THE PEOPLE WHO CARE

The following is a list that may help people who are ill find the people for their unique caregiver group. If you go through the list with them, you will find that there are many who care. People you never heard of. People you never expected. People who feel just like you do. They want to help but don’t know how. Even if there are items on the list that do not apply to your friend, it will surely spark some additional ideas.

Encourage both men and women, young and old, close friends and casual acquaintances, people who have been caregivers and people who haven’t, people who want to do a lot, people who can do only a little. The more different backgrounds and abilities you have in the group, the more you’ll be able to help. There are enough jobs in every caregiver group so that every man, woman, teen and child can find a suitable job.

  • Immediate family and all relatives (including children and teens)
  • Close and not-so-close friends
  • Neighbors (current and old––from another neighborhood)
  • Colleagues, past and present
  • Business associates
  • Clients
  • Unions
  • Business organizations
  • Church and synagogue or meditation groups
  • Fellow PTA members
  • Classes (dance, art, photography, sailing, computer)
  • Friends from the armed services
  • School or university (night classes, summer classes)
  • Old schoolmates
  • Old roommates
  • Fraternities, sororities
  • Elks Club, Friars Club, Toastmasters et al.
  • Organizations for retired professionals in their field
  • Former students
  • Country Club friends
  • Tennis or golf partners
  • Friends from exercise class or the gym
  • Fellow joggers
  • Friends of friends who want to help
  • Priest, Minister, Rabbi
  • Local community center
  • Senior Citizens center
  • Rugby, soccer, basketball teammates
  • Skiing friends
  • Summerhouse friends
  • People they know from walking the dog
  • New friends
  • Parents of their children’s friends
  • Local community theater
  • State fair friends
  • Four-H Club
  • Friends from places they have done volunteer work
  • Friends from Bingo night
  • Fishing and hunting friends
  • Clubs: cooking club, book club, bowling club, chess club and so on
  • Singing groups-chorus (even if they see each other only at Christmas)
  • Friend’s spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends
  • People training for social work
  • Student doctors and nurses
  • Housekeeper, maid, cleaning lady, baby sitter
  • Hiking and camping friends
  • Friends met on vacation
  • Boy scouts, girl scouts, service groups
  • Political organizations
  • Volunteer groups
  • Friendly manager of the local grocery store
  • Someone with nothing to do (bored with retirement)
  • A pharmacist at the local drugstore
  • Support group friends
  • Cancer care, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, ALS support group (any applicable support group)
  • Twelve-step programs
  • “Quit smoking” program friends
  • Friends from special courses (for instance, Course in Miracles, LifeSpring)
  • Friends from group therapy

Don’t neglect or forget people who live far away or in other towns. They can do all kinds of things to help as well: research work on the internet, send cards, notes, tapes or emails of encouragement to the person who is ill. Just use a little imagination or ask what they think they might contribute from a distance.

7. The Meeting: Part One: Getting to Know Each Other

8. The Meeting: Part Two: Getting Organized

9. The Workbook: All the Materials You need to Make Your Group Run

PART 3

BEING PART OF A GROUP AND SHARING THE JOBS

10. What the Group Means

11. The Most Common Caregiver Group Pitfalls and How To Avoid Them

12. The Jobs: An Overview

13. Going with Your Friend to the Doctor

14. Ten Steps to Making a Hospital Stay as Painless as Possible

15. Finding Your Way Through the Medical Maze

16. Caregiving at Home ( and Far From Home)

17. Making the Home Safe and Comfortable

18. Beyond Safety and Comfort

19. When Groups Help Out at Home

20. Getting Their Affairs in Order

PART 4

KEEPING THE GROUP (AND YOURSELF) GOING

21. Being With Someone Who Is Seriously Ill

22. What-Ifs, Do’s and Don’ts

23. The Second Meeting: Ten Signals That It’s Time to Have One

24. The Second Meeting: The Agenda

25. Confronting Yourself

26. Changes

27. The Closing Meeting: Why You Need To Have One

28. The Closing Meeting: The Agenda

PART 5

BEYOND THE GROUP CHANGED LIVES

29. Personal Meaning

30. The Healing Journey

31. The Book with a Mission

For Your Next Community Event...

Book A Speaker Who Can Make A Real Difference

We will work with you to tailor a presentation for your audience and event: conference, seminar, keynote, workshop, village community center.

Caregivers and concerned friends, support groups

VA and military health professionals, caregivers or clubs

Women’s/men’s organizations, clubs, retirement or village community centers

Villages/Communities – aging in place issues, end of life concerns

Teamwork, community building seminars

Contact us at offerings@sharethecare.org for availability, information and fees.

Click here to download our Speaker flyer as a PDF.


Caregiver Offerings

Presentations and Workshops

How to turn “What Can I do to Help?” Into Action

(for caregivers, their concerned friends and neighbors, village or community centers, clubs, faith communities)

During this introduction to the Share The Care™(STC) model, you’ll hear the story of how the first STC group was born and what happened to inspire the authors to write the STC guidebook so that others could follow in their footsteps.

The presentation includes examples of STC groups who have gone above and beyond the usual caregiving “call of duty” and their very inspiring accomplishments.

This presentation is about “community” at its best.

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures


Single, Separated, Widowed or Divorced –“Who Cares for the Person Who Lives Alone?”

(general public, clubs, faith communities, village or retirement communities)

Today more and more people live alone far from family; or they have no family. What happens when they need help?  Who will care for them?

This presentation is filled with stories of groups that came to the rescue of individuals without family, or spouse, or relatives who could take on a caregiver role.

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures.


Consultations for Institutions, Retirement and Village Communities

Let us help you make Share The Care™(STC) part of your community program to make life better for your caregivers, their care recipients and your whole community through STC presentations and/or the following workshop:

“Let’s Get Started” A Workshop For Caregivers & Concerned Friends

Workshop Description:

You know several people in your community who could use a Share The Care™ (STC) group. Several of their friends are ready to get things organized. However, the person in need of the care seems reluctant to have their caregiver approach others to participate. How can they be assured that this model will work without pushing people away? What can everyone do to get some much-needed relief for the caregiver?

Working together in little groups within a larger group, people feel more encouraged and less alone in their need for outside support.

Following background stories and examples of what groups are capable of doing we walk everyone through each of the steps needed to organize and maintain their first STC meeting.  Lots of Q & A and sharing.

If a care recipient has no family caregiver–this is a wonderful way for two friends to start a “caregiving family” to support them.

Following this workshop each should leave with plan of action and a sense of confidence and enthusiasm about accepting help.

This workshop is between 3 - 3.5 hours (depending on number of people.) There is minimum of 30 people.

Materials: Each participant receives a copy of the STC guidebook and a special workbook that includes 23 STC forms, handouts and suggestions.

Background

(How STC was born)

The story behind Share The Care™ began on March 15th, 1988, when twelve women, including the authors, got a call to come to a meeting to try and find a way to help their friend Susan cope with her worsening cancer. When Cappy and Sheila arrived that night they had two very different viewpoints:

Susan Farrow
“I was terrified. I knew Susan had had a bout with cancer but she told me they ‘got it all’ and I wanted to believe it as much as she did. Susan was a divorced, working mother of two girls. She couldn’t be really sick. She was strong and successful and my peer. I had never grappled with sickness, death or dying, mine or anyone else’s. I had never taken care of anyone and I didn’t know how.”   ~CAPPY
I was relieved. Being Susan’s best friend, I had been there from the beginning... through the surgeries, hospital stays, treatments and recuperations.
They sat in the first meeting with Susan’s friends, neighbors and co-workers (mostly strangers to each other) they never dreamed where it would lead them. Simultaneously, I was the sole caregiver of my elderly mother and I had just put her in a nursing home as I was no longer able to give her the care she needed. Not only was I wracked with guilt I was also exhausted beyond belief. My work suffered and my personal life was nonexistent.”   ~ SHEILA
Susan’s Funny Family

Over the next three and a half years this group stayed together and took total care of her. They cooked, shopped and did errands. They checked her in and out of hospitals, took her to doctor’s appointments and kept track of her medications. They laughed and cried with her and even organized her daughter’s wedding six months before she died. They became known as “Susan’s Funny Family.”

It might have ended there, but it didn’t. Six months later, they helped organize another group for Francine, a friend of Susan’s, who also had cancer. Francine’s group went on to be in operation for even longer than Susan’s and raised over $100,000 for her medical treatments over the course of her illness.

The power and impact of seeing another group of strangers become “Francine’s Funny Family” inspired the originators of this method to document their caregiving system in a book called Share The Care™.

Francine Cina
“As we talk to the people who are using our book and to the people who have been helped by it, we still can’t believe what we started.” say Cappy and Sheila. “The Funny Family” experience has taught us a great deal about love and compassion and connected us to the larger human family in unexpected ways. The book is a practical guide. The stories behind it and around it are an inspiration.”

In the early years following the release of Share The Care, in December 1995, it quickly became the roadmap used by caregiver groups all over the country and adopted for programs by universities, disease specific organizations, faith communities and community groups.

STC was the subject of articles by: The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Modern Maturity. Sheila and Cappy were thrilled to be invited to write a piece for the website for Bill Moyer’s “On Our Own Terms” TV special. The authors were interviewed on Orlando’s “America’s Health” channel and the “Home and Family” channel in Los Angeles. (See THE MEDIA)

Caregiver FAQ

Is Share The Care™ a support group?

No. STC is a group caregiving model that allows people (friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances to organize into a “caregiving family” to help someone they know in need of help. The group’s efforts are meant not only to help the care recipient but also the family caregiver and the rest of the family. And if someone has no family nearby, the group forms to become their “family.”

Why do we need a group?  Why not just hire a nurse’s aide?

A STC group does not take the place of a professional caregiver, however, not everyone can afford to hire a full time aide. A STC group AND a nurse’s aide can all part of the same team. Friends have a head start as they know the care recipient (and their family) and can fill many needs that the professional is not legally allowed to do. For example: fundraising, research, taking care of the kids or pets, and keeping the recipient’s creative projects going or just hanging out.

How does a Share The Care™ group begin?

A group might start at the suggestion of a friend, neighbor, co-worker or through someone who has experienced being in a STC group. Sometimes a family caregiver finds STC on the internet and decides it’s a good solution for their loved one’s circumstance. Even the person needing the support may discover the model and tell their friends “this is how you can help me.”

And very often a health professional or the clergy might introduce this option to a family they know who is struggling with overwhelming caregiving responsibilities.

Do I have to be a professional to start a Share The Care™ group?

Absolutely not. With step-by-step directions, two people can organize the first meeting. They might be friends, neighbors, or co-workers. They will work with the care recipient/family to create a list of whom to invite and to figure out what kind of help will be needed. Chapters 2-9 in the STC book are written to them and explain in detail the STC systems and forms. The entire meeting is scripted. Thousands have done this meeting successfully and come away feeling focused, committed and energized.

Did you just “make-up” this caregiving model?

Actually it came out of the real-life experiences of 12 people (who didn’t know each other) who joined forces to support a mutual friend when she reached a crisis during her battle with terminal cancer. The STC manual covers not only how to organize a group but also how to keep it going. By sharing working as a tight knit team and sharing the responsibilities, they can maintain their efforts over long periods of time. The friendships that evolve during the experience are a special benefit.

Why can’t you just send us someone to start a STC group?

We believe in empowering people to start and maintain their own STC group.

Our philosophy is like the saying: “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” The STC book is your guide. Everything is explained in great detail and the systems are very logical and simple. Thousands of people have created STC “caregiving families” all across the US and in other countries.

We do provide online and telephone support to anyone who needs it.

Is STC only for cancer patients or people who are at end of life?

Not at all. STC groups have make a profound difference for people with every imaginable illness (temporary, long term to terminal) as well as for people with disabilities. Groups can do much during the recuperation process after an accident, major surgery, or combat. They are also a wonderful way to support the elderly who need some assistance to remain safely in their home.  It benefits women with small children who are undergoing a difficult pregnancy, and help in the case of multiple births, or preemies. Widow(ers) have also benefited from a group especially when they have small children, as have grandparents raising grandkids on their own.

What do Share The Care™ groups do?

 They can do just about anything they set their mind to do…from everyday support (cooking, shopping, cleaning and going to doctor’s appointments) to fundraising, or keeping a small business running. A group can make it possible for a caregiver to keep working and bringing in a salary. They can accompany a care recipient out of the country/state for alternative treatments, and make it possible for patients to pursue their dreams–writing a book, painting, creating a labyrinth or garden, building a house, writing a musical.

How many people do you need for a Share The Care™ Group?

Groups have been as small as 6 to over 100 people. They usually average about 20-40 members yet older adults prefer a much smaller group. Even if you have a small number to start, get going and plan to grow the team as you work.

8 people giving 3 hours a week can mean 24 hours of support to start.

What if I can’t help out every week?

The good news is you can still make a difference by taking on the role of a “free-floater” or someone who can only help occasionally or in times of an emergency when someone is needed. All kinds of help is welcome.

How can I tell a friend about Share The Care™ – they live in another state?

Probably the best way to introduce them to the STC model is to send them to our comprehensive website so they can explore and learn about how STC works. We also provide email and telephone support so they can contact us with any questions.

Are Share The Care™ groups made up of only women?

Not at all. Increasingly more and more men are caregivers and very good ones at that. Being in a STC group means offering the help one feels comfortable giving. There are certain jobs that men may feel more suited to do. We know of groups with men who have taken on the role of getting their “buddy” (with ALS) up, shaved and dressed for the day and then returning in the evenings to get him showered and ready for bed. That’s just one example.

What makes Share The Care™ groups different from volunteer groups?

The main difference in STC groups and volunteers is that they already have a relationship with person they are caring for. Being a friend, sometimes, means that they will go above and beyond the call of duty to make something happen.

Though volunteers often develop close friendships with their care recipient they don’t start that way.

What’s the goal of ShareTheCaregiving?

Our mission is to improve the quality of life of anyone who needs support–and to reduce the stress, depression, isolation and economic hardship of their caregivers. We believe that as our aging population continues to grow and more people need care, one way we can make a difference is to be part of a caregiving group. Being part of a STC group is a wonderful way to prepare more people to be caregivers.

How can I help ShareTheCaregiving with its mission?

There are many ways you can help. Making a donation will help cover the cost of maintaining the organization so we can keep working to get the word out. This includes covering the costs of educational materials, upkeep of our website, and new projects that are being developed to specifically assist more caregivers, health professionals, faith communities and working caregivers.

Please tell us about your group experiences and feel free to offer your suggestions. We welcome you stories and photos to inspire others to create their own STC groups. Tell people you know in need of caregiving support that this model is a rewarding option for their consideration.

Resources for Caregivers

We offer links to RESOURCES that target a vast variety of specific illnesses, and challenges, as well as helpful information, services and support.

Click on the title below to download a helpful booklet.

Caregiving Booklet from EmblemHealth and NAC:

“Care for the Family Caregiver: A Place to Start” in PDF format

Click on an organization’s name below to visit their site.

A Place for Mom– Housing Resources

AARP – American Association of Retired People

AARP: Benefits – QuickLINK – Locate Public Benefits in your state

AARP: Prepare to Care – Planning Guide for Families – Booklet

About Assisted Living – Resource for caregivers and individuals who are looking for information on assisted living in their state.

Aging with Dignity – Five Wishes Document

Aging Solutions – Aging Parents and Elder Care

Alliance for Aging Research

ALS Association – The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association

ALS – MDA – MDA / ALS News Magazine Current Research

Alzheimers Association Alzheimers Foundation

Alzheimers.net – Resources

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) – to raise awareness of the benefits of hospice and palliative medicine, and help patients and families find the care they need

American Brain Tumor Association

American Brain Tumor Foundation

American Cancer Society

American Childhood Cancer Organization formerly Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation

American Diabetes Association

American Hospice Foundation

American Heart Association

American Kidney Fund

American Liver Foundation

American Lung Association

American Parkinson Disease Association

Annie Appleseed project – Help for cancer patients and their advocates

California Caregiver Resource Centers – Resource center for California caregivers

Cancercare, Inc.

Cancer and careers

Cancer Decisions – research and alternative treatments

Cancer Kids – helps children with Cancer tell their stories – Site retired – Archived stories still available

Care.com – local Senior Care Directory in a wide range of cities

Caregiver Exchange – Canadian Resources, Events and more

Caregiver Survival Network – Caregiver’s community and resources

CaringBridge – free website for family/caregivers/patients

Caring From A Distance – Resource for Long Distance Caregivers

Caring Today – online magazine

Centers for Medicare information for Caregivers and Medicaid Services

Children of Aging Parents

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Colon Cancer Alliance

Compassionate Care ALS

Corporate Angel Network, Inc. – Free flights on corporate planes for cancer patients

Disability.gov – Online Resource for People with Disabilities

DOROT – NY Seniors/caregivers/volunteers

DyingWell

Elder Abuse and Neglect – Links from basic understanding to resources

ElderCare Online

ElderHope

Empowering Caregivers

Family Caregiver Alliance

Fighting Chance – life skills for cancer patients

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

Gail Sheehey (AARP)– The Labyrinth of Caregiving

Gift From Within– Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Get Palliative Care – definition, information, and Provider Directory by state

Healthfinder

Health Library – University of Cincinnati – Cancer Information

Hospice Education Institute

Hospice Foundation

Huntington’s Disease Society of America

IPPF: International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation – information and support

Kidney Cancer Association

Kids Health – Cancer Center – Parent information

Kids Konnected – Children whose parent has cancer support

Leiomyosarcocoma – News on causes and preventitive treatments for Leiomyosarcoma

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The

Life Guide: Children and Cancer – LifeInsurance.org informational options

LightBridge Healthcare Research – educational resources for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers

Lupus

Medicare: The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare

Medicare and Medicaidtools, information and materials – NEW!

Medicare Rights Center – A national , non-profit consumer service organization that includes these sites:

Metlife – Health Advice and resources

Mesothelioma – Mesothelioma Information Center

Mesothelioma – Online Information & Resource site

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Resource Center – Free information package available, some web content contains video narration

Mesothelioma Guide – Take Control of your Prognosis

Mesothelioma Help

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

Multiple Sclerosis Association

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance for Caregiving

National Cancer Institute

National Caregiving Alliance

National Family Caregivers Association

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization – advance directives, living wills

National Marfan Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults

National Resource Directory – Services and resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, and veterans, their families and families of the fallen.

National Stroke Association

Navigating Grief: A guidebook for Grief Awareness & Understanding

New York City Family Caregiver Coalition

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens – (All NYC Boroughs) Free Emergency Respite for caregivers of Frail Elderly

NF Mid-Atlantic – A comprehensive resource for Neurofibromatosis

NEXT STEP IN CARE – United Hospital Fund

NYC PARTNERSHIP 4 FAMILY CAREGIVING CORPS– Corporate caregivers

‘On Our Own Terms’ – Bill Moyers Special

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

Paying For Senior Care – Understand your financial options for long term care. Use the FREE Eldercare Financial Resource Locator Tool

Planet Cancer – Young adults and children with cancer

Ronald McDonald House – housing during hospital car

Silvert’s Adaptive Clothing for ElderlyCare

Social Securtity and Disability Resource Center – social security disability and SSI

Social Securtity Disability Secrets

Spinal Cord Injury Information Network – resources for equipment/accessibility

Strength for Caring – the comprehensive web site of The Caregiver Initiative of Johnson & Johnson

Surviving Mesothelioma: A Patient’s Guide – Free copies of “Surviving Mesothelioma” are available to newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients

Susan G.Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

thehealthline.ca – Health services in South West Ontario

Today’s Caregiver Magazine

Theravive – network of therapists and counselors

University of Wisconsin Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center

US TOO! International, Inc. – prostate cancer support

Well Spouse Association – for spousal caregivers.

Wisconsin Alliance for Family Caregiving

Womens Cancer Network

Wounded Warrior Project – Wounded Warrior Project is a military and veterans charity service organization empowering injured veterans and their families.

Zweena Health –  a PHR that contacts healthcare providers and collects, digitizes & stores your health records for you.

What STC Group
Members Say

I think the (STC) book was the best piece of information we received in all our searching. It is the greatest and I recommend it to everyone who asks about our situation. I wish that all hospitals could hand it out when they give you a diagnosis for ALS. I wish you could get a grant to have it placed in every hospital waiting room and doctor’s office. Everyone knows someone who could benefit from reading it.

  Kathryn Field

 
The process used to set up the opening STC gathering was very loving, embracing, energizing and affirming – I think I can say we all felt that way... I was so humbled and gratified to hear of the ways I had impacted on others so much that they were willing to help me and my family as my care needs increase.
I also found comfort in hearing how some thought this could also benefit them in their lives right now – as part of the facilitated process that went very well. I felt the circle concept of giving and receiving – which I am most comfortable with.

  Dianne Rhein


 
“A STC team is a lifelong gift, not only for the recipient, but for the family of the person in need. We now meet as a group each year on the anniversary of Linda’s death to celebrate her life. These are truly amazing people.”

  Aymee, Linda’s daughter


 
“But the best gift Share The Care™ gave to me personally was the gift of time. The program allowed me to spend more quality time with Kevin. I knew my time with him was limited, and I didn’t want to waste it going grocery shopping or running to the cleaners. I wanted to be with him as much as possible.
While a caregiver to Kevin, I was also the mother of a young child. I often felt torn between caring for Kevin and our daughter Alina. I made the decision to ask our Share The Care™ group to help with Alina’s extracurricular activities. Volunteers came through, and their help brought me great joy.”

  Jodi O’Donnell Ames


“When I see the Reevettes (my sister’s Share The Care™ group,) I will thank them, for their help.  I know I will hear in their response: “gift,” “privilege,” “honor.“ One group member told me recently, ‘it’s one of the best things I’ve done with my life.’
“Maybe my sister is living longer because of us. I know we are living better because of her.”

  Karin Reeve
  Sharing The Care by Carry Marriot, ALS Independence


“Melia definitely had Angels sent her way through Share The Care™! We will always be grateful for the extra special Loving Care and Comfort that Melia and her whole family received thanks to STC!! This has been an epic challenge and will continue to be so as we move forward in her recovery. But I can’t say enough about how much of a blessing STC has been! Our gratitude always.”

  Sally Blades


 
I want to let you know that the meeting to set up Doreen’s Doers went really well. We managed to contain it to 2 1/2 hours and Doreen stayed throughout. She was unable to talk very much as, for the first time since she told me of her diagnosis, she was emotional. It was seeing so many friends who want to help and she couldn’t say much, which is not typical! I gave her other opportunities later on.

  Margaret Eldridge


“As Lynn is able to function less the grieving among group members increases. We all try to help Lynn with her grief and we are planning some meetings for those who want /need support with their grief and other feelings.
 
We’re so glad that you and Cappy wrote the book and that more and more people are less isolated in their caregiving and care receiving. Share The Care™ enriches the lives of so many people in a myriad of ways. I’d love for everyone to know about this model!”

  Suzanne Maschmeyer


“Without my group, I would have been paralyzed. I was constantly going to doctors. I had no money and no insurance. I had this tremendous fear: How am I going to pay for my Medicare supplement? How am I going to pay for my bone marrow transplant? They were brilliant. They went so far beyond the call of duty. I said I needed money, and bing bang, boom, there it was!”

  Francine Cina (her group did many fundraisers)


“I look at life differently now. I spend more time with positive influences, try to enjoy life more and don’t get as upset with things that in the past would have greatly upset me. Everyone, once in their life should have the opportunity to experience people working together to help other people. There’s no better fulfillment in life than to know that maybe you made one hour, one day or more a little brighter for someone.”

  J. Ambrose


“I would do it again without even thinking. I would do it for a friend of a friend. I would even do it for a stranger.”

  J. St. Martin, Redbook Magazine


We went from a bunch of confused people who really cared about this little family, to this incredible network. We’re set up so no one person does it all. No one gets burnt out and Linda and Bob (her son) always have someone there for them.”

  S. Jansen
  The Orange County Register


“I never imagined so many people would hold a ‘meeting’ for me. It’s actually hard to accept, to say ‘I need help’. But sharing all this gives me more peace of mind especially about Ben.” (her son)

  L. Simpson
  The Orange County Register


“Family is not always defined by blood or marriage, but more often by love and commitment to each other.”

  E. Farrow Savos
  daughter of Susan
  (the first “Funny Family” aka STC)


“It takes a lot of stamina, a lot of commitment, a lot of focus, a lot of giving up and starting over again. A lot of ‘I don’t think I can do this? and a lot of ‘oh yes, you can.’... The Share The Care™ group has helped make it easier to give Rick the highest quality of life possible whether he’s on the track of living or on the track of dying.”

  M. Stevens
  The Santa Fe Reporter


“I was still very weak and I could only attend half of the meeting, but it was very powerful and it made me very happy. I felt a greater degree of security, as though I was part of something bigger. I learned how wonderful and compassionate people could be. I didn’t feel like a burden because I realized that people get something valuable for themselves out of helping out.”

  R. Stevens
  The Santa Fe Reporter


“I learned the ‘facts of life’... that we will all die. Somehow it isn’t as frightening as it was. And that if we ask for help, it’s there. And though we may feel alone, if we have courage to let others in, others will be there.”

  M. Schreibman


“We would not have been able to get through this like we did, if not for STC, Andrea said. “It made all the difference to have people coming alongside us, because, with a long-term illness like Peter’s (ALS), you feel like you are drowning, like you are going under. The STC people were the life savers that brought us back to the surface and held us up in ways that we never could have imagined.”

  Peter and Andrea Devin

You have come to the right place if...

You are a health professional searching for solutions

to help your patients and families deal with the

enormous responsibilities of caregiving.

Welcome to

SHARE THE CARE™

With the suspension of many government programs, and hospitals working to cut readmissions, the burden on family caregivers is increasing beyond their already stretched limits.

The health professionals cannot do or be everything for their patients and caregivers. We believe that the Share The Care™ (STC) model offers one of the most cost effective and rewarding ways to help avert the caregiving crisis.

City, county, state, and national health professionals, non-profit and disease specific organizations, hospices, and hospitals, can help the more than 65 million struggling caregivers in the US cope by introducing solutions that empower people to take control of their own caregiving needs.

Many, many more caregivers will be needed by 2030 when the Boomer population doubles to 71 million. And 25 million people are projected to develop dementia by 2050 unless a cure is found.

Yet the number of health professionals is on the decline and there is a dwindling number of younger people who might take on the role of caregiver in the future.

This is not just a concern in the US and Canada... it is a significant and troubling issue globally.

Who is going to take care of everybody?

How are they going to do it?

We Can All become part of the solution.

In fact health professionals are not immune to having to “be there” for their own family, friends, or colleagues as demonstrated by Pat’s Group.

Jackie Crandall, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, had no sooner attended a STC Training in London, Ontario when she found herself in a position to apply what she had just learned to help a nursing colleague diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Led by Jackie, other hospital staff rallied to help their co-worker Pat and her family by creating a Team of 30 strong in just days.

Some of the 30 plus members of Pat’s Team

STC Campaign Coordinator (and Bereavement Professional) Eugene Dufour met with Pat’s Care Group after her death.  Dufour recalls: “The closing meeting was one of the most powerful sessions I have attended. There were a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, a lot of sharing of deep feelings. They all expressed their feeling that they gave Pat a wonderful gift, and Pat gave them a greater gift.”

You can read about the STC Initiative in S.W. Ontario the STC in Communities Section.” You can view a video about Pat’s Group in our STC Groups in Action section.

STC Can Support Your Patients and Families

The Person Needing The Care

Since 1995, the STC model has demonstrated the ability to make a difference, regardless of the situation. No matter if a person (adult, teen or child) is in need of short-term or long-term rehabilitation following surgery, an accident or combat; has a disability; or is suffering from long-term or terminal illness, STC can help. The model is also used to support people struggling with the difficulties associated with aging.

STC teams have assisted people facing other difficult situations including: the frail elderly living alone; a widower with 7 kids; people recovering from a broken back and/or limbs; parents with newborn quadruplets, triplets, and preemie twins; grandparents raising small children; and teens transitioning to foster care, as well as someone with a hoarding issue.

Today a significant and a growing number of people live alone. Many who are ill or disabled live alone far from family or without any family at all. What better antidote to fear and isolation than a “created family”.

The only thing that limits STC is one’s imagination.

Health Professionals Help A STC Group

Because the model is rooted in teamwork and making the most of everyone’s time, experience and skill sets, STC can be applied to any situation to provide comfort for the person needing the care...

The following example demonstrates how health professionals taught family caregivers and team members (who felt comfortable doing so) critical homecare skills for an ALS patient.

Peg’s Legs – by Kimi Chun

We knew that Peggy would not thrive in a nursing home – and everyone made a commitment to care for her in her home.

While Peggy went in for her tracheostomy, the group met to discuss what Peggy’s new needs were going to be and how we needed to re-organize. We enlisted a private nursing organization to train our volunteers and help us through the transition. Peggy had excellent healthcare though not enough to cover 24 hours for the entire year. The plan was train our Peg’s Legs volunteers so that they could take over the daytime nursing hours.

We had 3 shifts a day covered by our STC volunteers and we used private hire nurses overnight. Each Peg’s Legs shift had what we called an “A” person and a “B” person. The “A” person was trained to manage the ventilator and do the medical stuff and the “B” person was there to assist them and do light household chores, etc. We also had “C” people – they came by when they could  – whenever that might have been.

We had 2 people on every shift – 3 shifts a day – that’s 6 volunteers a day – everyday! And many of these volunteers were new friends. Thanks to them, we saved thousands every month in nursing expenses. We still had to supplement with fundraising, but our large network got the word out.


STC informs caregivers and group members to always seek professional help to learn critical homecare skills or receive special training to support the needs of their care recipient

[click here to read the Q & A interview with Kimi in Share Your Advice Section of this website(Caregivers Section)]

STC Offerings

For your next event...

Book A Speaker Who Can Make A Real Difference

We will work with you to tailor a presentation for your audience and type of event: conference, seminar, keynote, workshop or panel.

  • Health professionals (or disease/specialty specific conference)

  • Chaplains, faith communities

  • VA and military health professionals, caregivers or clubs

  • Non-profit organizations, institutions, homecare companies

  • Students of social work and nursing

  • Caregiving crisis, aging in place issues, end of life concerns

  • Teamwork, community building seminars

Contact us for availability and information. Click here to download our Speaker flyer as a PDF.

See Professional Trainings Section for details.

Email us at offerings@sharethecare.org


Presentation Descriptions

The descriptions below are of our most popular presentations/workshops

Who Cares for the Caregiver?

(for professional audiences)

Share The Care™ (STC) is a highly regarded grassroots caregiving model used throughout the U.S., Canada and other countries to help people who are in need of support.  It was created from the real-life needs and the experiences of 12 women (who didn’t know each other) who cared for a terminally ill friend. By working closely together for nearly four years they learned to create a model that could support their friend as well as themselves, so no one person had too much to do and each managed to keep her own life in good working order.

Professionals will learn the first steps needed to organize the critical first meeting of a STC group and why working as a close-knit team maintains the group’s long-term ability to sustain their support.

During this overview of the STC model, participants learn about the key STC systems and see examples of STC in action in other communities as well as some of the inspiring accomplishments of STC groups from around the world.

Audience: health professionals conferences, seminars, or workshop

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, handout brochures


How to turn “What Can I do to Help?” into Action

(for caregivers and concerned friends)

A friend tells you of a loved one’s illness. Another says she or he is caring for an aging parent. A couple faces long-term health issues with no outside support. We’ve all said it – because it’s the most universal, most instinctive reaction: “What can I do to help?” Everyone will be touched by caregiving at some point in life. What can each of us do now so that we are better prepared for our turn at bat? And how can we avoid burning out?

During this introduction to the Share The Care™ (STC) model, you’ll hear the hear the story of how the first STC group was born and, what happened to inspire the authors to write the STC guidebook so that others could follow in their footsteps.

The presentation includes examples of STC groups who have gone above and beyond the usual caregiving “call of duty” and their very inspiring accomplishments.

This presentation is about “community” at its best.

A perfect presentation for: general public, caregiver events and conferences and support groups.

(60-90 minute) Q & A, Handout brochures


Single, Separated, Widowed or Divorced –
“Who Cares for the Person Who Lives Alone?”

(general public, faith communities, community events)

Today more and more people live alone far from family; or they have no family.  What happens when they need help?  Who will care for them?

This presentation is filled with stories of groups that came to the rescue of individuals without family, or spouse, or relatives who could take on a caregiver role.

The audience learns through storytelling of how “created Share The Care™ (STC) families” have overcome some very difficult challenges.  And though these families cannot cure, they can heal. This presentations includes what it takes to start a STC group as well as important suggestions on how we can each “be better prepared” should we ever need support–no matter if we have family or not.

Audience: anyone living alone, communities, villages, aging organizations

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures.


Caregiver Coaching

“Let’s Get Started”

A Workshop For Caregivers & Concerned Friends

(caregivers, care recipients without a caregiver and two committed friends for each)

Workshop Description:

If your organization or institution works with caregivers who are ready to accept a Share The Care™ (STC) group, but need guidance to get started we offer a special workshop. Because the initial STC group meeting is designed to be organized and led by two committed friends, each caregiver will need to enlist them to attend.

Working together in little groups within a larger group, people feel more encouraged and less alone in their need for outside support.

Following background stories and examples of what groups are capable of doing we walk everyone through each of the steps needed to organize and maintain their first STC meeting. Lots of Q & A and sharing.

If a care recipient has no family caregiver – this is a wonderful way for two friends to start a “caregiving family” to support them.

Following this workshop each should leave with plan of action and a sense of confidence and enthusiasm about accepting help.

This workshop is between 3 – 3.5 hours (depending on number of people.) There is minimum of 30 people.

Materials: Each participant receives a copy of the STC guidebook and a special workbook that includes 23 STC forms, handouts and suggestions.

This workshop would be ideal for disease specific organizations or for programs focused on helping the caregivers of our military and veterans.


Consultations For Programs Of Non-Profit Organizations, Institutions and Villages

The STC model can be an excellent addition to any current training or workshops you provide for your local caregivers or professionals.

Let us help you make STC part of your program to make life better for your caregivers and their care recipients.

For more information and a proposal for this workshop contact offerings@sharethecare.org.

Professional Trainings

“Seeding Share The Care™ (STC) in Your Community” Program

“Seeding Share The Care™ (STC) in Your Community” Program is a full-day professional training designed specifically for health professionals and the clergy. It gives you the tools and the knowledge to, introduce STC to your patients, families, parishioners and encourages them to consider STC as a positive and rewarding caregiving option. The training is limited to 40 to 60 participants.

The program is accredited by the NorthEast Multi-State Division RN Continuing Education Unit so that RNs can receive continuing education credits (6.25 hrs).

Who can be trained?

Nurses, social workers, hospice workers, hospital discharge personnel, chaplains, geriatric care managers, aging specialists, therapists, support group program leaders, students of social work and nursing. Volunteers who work in hospice or faith-based programs, and in caregiver support programs are also well positioned to identify needs and help people understand the benefits that can result from a created “caregiving family”.

Interested local and government organizations, faith communities, hospitals and hospices have pooled funds or received grants to host a training in order to establish the STC model locally.

Trainees learn:

  • ways to motivate patients and families to accept help

  • the key steps to organize a first group meeting

  • how groups can utilize the skills and talents within the group

  • ways STC groups can maintain their efforts over time

  • how a group can maximize everyone’s skills and talents

  • the signals that the group needs to readjust to the changing needs of their care recipient

  • what it feels like to work in a mock STC with people they don’t know to cover their critical needs

For information or to receive a detailed proposal, please contact swarnock@sharethecare.org.

Video testimonial from a professional training participant

STC Stations

In order to successfully disseminate the STC model locally, following a training, an organization (or several organizations or faith communities) may choose to create a “STC Station.”

The purpose of a STC Station is to:

  1. Promote and provide information about STC
  2. Coach those who need assistance to get a STC group going
  3. Offer local resources and referrals as necessary
  4. Provide feedback on local STC group activity to STCG

Flyers, small space ads, articles, posters, and brochures are placed in community centers, places of worship, pharmacies, hospitals, and libraries to engage people and make them aware of the Station, the handbook and the STC website.

Each piece of advertising invites them to call a local number to learn more about the model and/or to receive coaching to start a group.

Community outreach is one aspect of a Station Manager’s role. They make presentations to support groups, clubs, associations, faith communities, community centers, or anywhere people gather. They also do interviews for their local newspapers, radio or TV stations.

Social workers, parish nurses, counseling professionals, trained volunteers or even past Share The Care group participants are ideal to do this work. The main requirement is passion... we call them “STC Champions.”

A Station can be located in a small corner within an office with a computer. It’s best to choose a space where people already go to access healthcare advice or information (e.g., clinics, hospice, faith communities, and community centers where support programs are offered.)

Station Materials including a Station Manager’s manual are available on request for a fee.

Contact us for details: Stations@sharethecare.org

See: Examples of STC in Communities – Wisconsin to learn about a comprehensive STC Station Program funded by the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources.

STC In Communities

Three Examples Of STC In Action Following Training

Example Links:   A Province  |  An Entire State  |  A Whole Island


A Province

S.W. Ontario

Share The Care™ Two Year Initiative in SW Ontario

Paul Cavanagh, former Director of the South West End-of-Life Care Network.

Share The Care™ (STC) received a huge boost when the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) funded a two-year knowledge transfer campaign in Ontario, Canada from 2009 to 2011. The campaign resulted in over 100 information sessions and numerous training workshops. Even more importantly, it created a network of 40 local champions and 5 STC stations across the region.

The idea wasn’t just to spread the word about STC for two years, it was to create a well of knowledge and experience that people could draw on in subsequent years.

Although the campaign was orchestrated through the South West End-of-Life Care Network, it involved a wide variety of organizations, including churches, libraries, employee assistance programs, primary care teams, seniors services, home care, hospices, local Alzheimer Societies, as well as other community support services. It was led by campaign coordinator, Eugene Dufour.

Eugene DuFour – Sheila Warnock – Paul Cavanagh

Five different community organizations stepped up to host STC Stations across the region. SouthWesthealthline.ca (a website with over one million hits a year that offers a consumer-oriented database of health and social services in the South West) created a mini-site called the Caregiver Exchange www.caregiverexchange.ca that features caregiving advice and resources, including information about regional STC resources.

A summative evaluation at the end of the campaign revealed that 4,100 people attended information sessions and almost 7,000 information packages were distributed at various presentations, health fairs, and conferences. It’s estimated that 63 caregiving groups were formed, although the number could be higher. Most were created to support people at the end of their lives.

STC Mitchell Training

Perhaps the most telling result from the campaign evaluation was that care recipients and their families were very appreciative of the support they received. On the flip side, group participants were very satisfied with their experience and said they would get involved again. “Participating in a caregiving group was a gift for us,” said one group participant

South West Ontario
Share The Care™ Stations

  • Serenity House Hospice (Elgin County)

  • Grey-Bruce Geriatric Education Cooperative (Grey-Bruce Counties)

  • Mitchell and Area Community Outreach (Huron-Perth Counties)

  • Hospice of London (London and Middlesex County)

  • VON Sakura House Residential Hospice (Oxford County)

About South West Ontario

South West Ontario is located in the Great Lakes Basin, north of Lake Erie and east of Lake Huron. It consists of several small cities and one regional centre of about 370,000 people surrounded by large tracts of farmland. It takes about four hours to drive from its southernmost point on the shore of Lake Erie to its northernmost point on the tip of the Bruce peninsula.

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An Entire State

STC Stations, Wisconsin

Share The Care™ Stations Program, Wisconsin.

Sponsored by the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) Claire Culbertson, National Family Caregiver Support Program, Special Projects Coordinator

Claire did a poster session on this project at the March 2012 ASA Conference in Washington, DC

Share The Care™ (STC) Stations are being developed in Wisconsin to meet the growing need for caregivers. Claire Culbertson, NFCSP, Special Projects Coordinator, was hired in 2011 by GWAAR to train self-identified caregiver coordinators in Wisconsin counties (located in Aging & Disability Resource Centers and local Aging Units) and other agencies involved with local/regional caregiver coalitions in the STC model. To launch the project, Sheila Warnock was invited to provide a day-long training to interested coordinators and agency representatives.

Utilizing the statewide network of professionals that serve family caregivers, a train-the-trainer approach is used to introduce the STC model to establish STC Stations. There are currently 15 STC Stations in Wisconsin. Several additional counties are scheduled to have a training in the coming months.

To reach any STC Station please contact:

Joan Litwitz,
Share The Care™ Project Coordinator

Email: joan.litwitz@gwaar.org
Tel: 608-228-0713

Mail: GWAAR
Attn: Joan Litwitz
1414 MacArthur Road, Suite A
Madison, WI 53714

WI STC Stations

Ashland County

Outreach Inc-Madison County

Marinette County

Ozaukee County

Walworth County

Brown County

Eau Claire County

Monroe County

Price County

Waupaca County

Dane County

LaCrosse County

Outagamie County

Rock County

Wolf River Region

STC Station training at the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin

One of the first STC Stations, launched in 2012, had the opportunity to record a radio public service announcement that played regularly. Several other counties have also been able to record similar PSAs.

(click below to play)

There has also been interest in establishing STC Stations specifically for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities (Madison has a STC within the LGBT community center). STC works well in this community as the model offers a sustainable way of organizing their support network, which includes “families of choice.”

Claire facilitates quarterly conference calls to support existing STC Stations that highlight such topics as outreach and promotion; overcoming barriers to accepting help; and most recently a speaker from the State Office on Aging (Dementia Specialist) who spoke about the State’s new Dementia Redesign, utilizing STC as a complement to the Memory Care Connections Program, a six-week evidenced-based program designed to assist and support caregivers of those with dementia.

With the help of Station Managers, STC groups have been forming and the model has been featured in several local newspapers.


The PDF of The Post Crescent, Appleton-Fox Cities, Wi. “Share The Care an organized way to lend assistance” by Jean Long Manteufel.

Read more

Click on the jpg below to view it enlarged.

(News article thumbnail and pdf of actual size)

(Click to read it as a PDF)


Another group was formed (after coaching from a Station) to assist a husband and wife caring for his 77-year-old father with a special problem. This STC group worked closely to support the couple with their day-to-day needs so they could focus on the father’s care and his hoarding problem.

The Story From: Karey Weyenberg about her hoarding father-in-law

Read more

RE: Share the Care

This was a challenging year for me and my family. My 77 year old “hermit like” father-in-law had been contacted by the city to clean up the inside and outside of his home due to a neighbor complaining about his hoarding. We had no choice to send him up north to live with his daughter while we sorted through 30 years of junk that he considered treasures. It took five months to just empty the house which allowed us to see the true condition. We planned to renovate the home so my mother-in-law could move back in and care for my father-in-law in a clean, healthy environment.  The truth was, this was going to be a bigger job than we’d expected. The foundation on two walls was in very poor condition and allowed rain to get into the basement. The wiring, windows, roof, plumbing, furnace and water heater were original from when the house was built in 1954 which made them inefficient and dangerous. It now became mine and my husband’s job to get the house back in livable condition.

In July it was necessary for him to come back to Milwaukee to be near his doctor. Because the house was under construction there was no choice but to have him and my mother-in-law move in with us. We went to work during the day and then work at the house until 9-10 pm. We also did this on the weekends which left little time for us to attend to the things that needed to get done at our home. Little things like buy bread or milk, make a meal, or mow the lawn took a backseat. But it’s the little things that pile up and cause stress.

Dar and Ruth pulled together our closest family and friends. They discussed each person’s strength and came up with a two week calendar of small jobs each could do to take something off mine and my husband’s personal “to do list”. There were four complete meals that were dropped off at my home. After a 14 hour day, instead of having to make a meal, all I had to do was pop it in the oven. Overdue gardening was all taken care of so we didn’t have to do it. Twice someone came over and vacuumed for us. A friend who is a masseuse came over and gave me a massage and another gave me and my mother-in-law a pedicure. It took us a day or so to realize that a pile of tree branches that we cut down a week prior were gone. A family member made that phone call to the city for a pickup. These were all simple daily tasks that don’t seem like much unless you already have too much to do. Share The Care™ allowed us to get through much easier. This is an amazing program. When we are absorbed in taking care of someone who needs us we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. That’s where the program comes in. I thank Dar and Ruth for the Share The Care™ Program.


Another Station Manager, Dana Nelson, submitted a story featured on the STC Website entitled: “We’re Working Our Way Into Sally’s Heart – through Her Dogs.” Dana had this to say: “This is why I do what I do.  I know Share The Care™ works!”

The story about Sally’s Dogs

Read more

We're Working Our Way Into Sally's Heart–Through Her Dogs

By Dana Nelson

I have started a mini-Share The Care™ group. Part of what drew me to STC originally was that it was such a natural fit for who I am.  I say it is a mini-group because the group is comprised of people with a special interest – we didn’t open it up and reach out to others for a couple of different reasons the main one being the care recipient wasn’t really open to help in the first place. So we kinda “forced” ourselves on her. Here is how it went down.

Those of us in this group are all connected through dogs. We all train and show dogs with the same breeder/trainer. We all vary in age and how long we have known Sally. I have known her for 8 years. She is my mother’s age but she is one of my dearest friends.

My friend Sally has Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is in her late 60s.  Over the past 7 years the RA has become very bad causing her to retire early and to give up some of the things she loves. But she won’t give up everything she should for her health sake and she doesn’t always use the best judgment – for example her bones break easily so she should be careful when she walks – but she doesn’t want the disease to control her so she walks in the woods instead of on the paved driveway!

She has fallen at least three times and twice broken bones. This most recent surgery (she has had nearly every joint in her body replaced) was a wrist fusion. She had this surgery in March, but it wouldn’t heal and she developed a bone infection so they ended up having to fuse her wrist.

She is not going to be able to continue to care for herself and her husband. Although he is helpful, he isn’t used to caring for Sally who is a former nurse and very stubborn. She feels that she can take care of herself and that she should also continue to cook, and clean for her husband. We all knew that we just HAD to start showing up at her house to help out around the house and with meals.

So I started a group on Facebook exclusive to just our little dog-show group. On Facebook you can have a “secret” group where others can’t see your posts and you can be exclusive as to who is in the group. It worked perfectly. We found that it was the best way to communicate. We had people stop over every day – one day they would bring a meal and the other day they would help with something. Sally never really caught on until about day 3 or 4 that we were intentionally doing this. By then she realized that she needed some help and was pretty accepting.

We continued this every day for three weeks and now people are routinely stopping in every other day. We also connect with her everyday via the phone. On Tuesday I spoke to her and found out that she just had an X-ray and it revealed small compression fractures on her spine. So it has become clear that we will be continuing our every other day scenario for a while.

The neat thing about this group is that we KNOW that she is more concerned about her dogs and so we are approaching the help from that perspective – we stop over to see how “THEY” are doing and while we are there we bathe them for her and gosh, we might as well vacuum too! At this point, she would still not be accepting of support from a large STC group with people (including family) from her other world. It truly blesses us to bless her with things that we are happy to do to help.

I am so glad that our county here in Wisconsin has such a great STC attitude. I only wish more people who need it would use it and accept it.

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A Whole Island

STC Program, Kauai, Hawaii

Individual communities (and in this case an island) have their own challenges and ways of applying the STC model. The following example demonstrates how STC can be applied using volunteers to fill in the gaps as STC blends beautifully with the local customs and culture for those living far from family on the mainland.

Lori Miller – Executive Director of Kauai Hospice

Deborah Duda, STC Program Coordinator, Kauai, Hawaii

About Kauai Share The Care™ (STC)

Deborah Duda, Lead STC Coordinator

Deborah is also the author of Coming Home, A Practical and Compassionate Guide to Caring for a Dying Loved One.

Kauai STC – an island-wide volunteer, grassroots movement- is dedicated to making life easier for our caregivers. Because of the inspired visions of Sheila Warnock and Lori Miller, Kauai Hospice Executive director, we are a project of Kauai Hospice, although not limited to families facing terminal illness.

How does it work? After Sheila came to Kauai and inspired and trained 55 volunteers, we divided Kauai into six regions, each with a volunteer regional coordinator, and an overall coordinator, Deborah Duda. She receives referrals and coordinates with compassionate social workers island wide and groups such as Office of Elderly Affairs, Ho’ola Lahui Hawaii, RSVP, Habitat for Humanity, and private home health agencies.

Then, regional coordinators meet with families to access their needs and help them to organize their resources – family, friends, coworkers, and faith community members – into caring teams. For caregivers without sufficient family and friends, STC volunteers from their area, if available, fill in to form hanai – extended – families.

Besides helping individual families, The STC program focuses on community development, on increasing our resident’s sense of belonging – being cared about and cared for.

Deborah gives numerous presentations on the STC model and how it has been adapted to island life and styles to local social service agencies and support groups – Rotary and Lions Clubs, AARP, and Alzheimer’s, ALS, dialysis, and Parkinson’s support groups.  Habitat for Humanity supports us by donating needed supplies such as grab bars, ceiling fans, and furniture for our families.

A STC volunteer, who is also a hospice volunteer, helped organize a three building senior apartment complex with 300 residents into caring teams. On hearing that the elevators in each building had to be replaced, the coordinator was concerned. During the month long installation period, second and third floor residents would only be able to exit using a steep flight of stairs. For many elderly and disabled residents that was impossible. The coordinator organized services such a running errands, food shopping, picking up the mail, and walking dogs. The first elevator was replaced with a lot of camaraderie and tenants’ needs met. Two more to go!!

In conclusion, Kauai STC is a widely recognized and valued island service. The mayor and county council have both issued proclamations of appreciation.

Deborah-with-Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho

Media support has also been outstanding. Numerous articles have appeared in three local newspapers and in magazines such as Elder Resources and we have used, an open mike by our local public radio station, whenever we want to reach out to the community. Sheila Warnock planted some very strong seeds on Kauai and we are flourishing!

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STC Research Study

Amy Hegenger, a PhD candidate at the School of Social Welfare at the State University of Albany, is working on a comprehensive evaluation of the STC model’s impact on key stakeholders: care recipients, their primary caregiver, and the STC group members.

Amy works at the New York State Office for the Aging in the area of long term care, systems planning and analysis and also has experience as a hospital social worker. Her primary research interest is in older adult activity and volunteerism. She heard Sheila speak about STC at a conference in Albany, and knew her organization was seeking a researcher to do a study on the value of STC.

The study was initiated this summer. People were asked to complete an online survey and were also invited to participate in a follow up phone conversation with the researcher. Over 50% of participants indicated that they would be willing to do so. The final paper is expected to be complete and ready for publication and presentations by the Spring 2015.

This research is a first step in developing an evidence base that we believe will document the effectiveness of the STC model in achieving important public policy goals.

Download a 7 page PDF Summary of the Final Research report.

What Professionals Say

 

Feedback from Share The Care™ Training Participants

“Sheila Warnock’s book Share The Care will lead the national hospice movement to its next step, meeting the needs of the millions of Americans living alone who will need hospice care. Her work is groundbreaking.”

  Deborah Duda, Author
Coming Home, Caring for a Dying Loved One


“Share the Care is a very creative approach to helping families overwhelmed with the tasks of caring for an ill or ailing loved one. Sheila’s simple program makes it easy for churches and other civic groups to create circles of support.
Family caregivers are the unpaid labor force of the health care system. They provide their family member with continuity of care across multiple settings throughout the illness trajectory. (As one advocate observed, patients are often sent home from the hospital with instructions given to the family caregivers that are so complicated, they would leave a nursing student shaking in her boots.)
With Share the Care, communities can step in to handle the more routine tasks of housekeeping and meals, so that families can do what they need to do and still have energy left over to laugh together, express their love and, eventually, say good-bye.”
        

  - Natasha Beauchamp


 
“It is wonderful to have a new method of assisting families with caregiving issues. The model is very clear and comprehensive with a lot of room to adjust for individual situations.”

  RN, Adult Day Care Center


“Excellent seminar – superb presenter whose mission in life is CLEAR. Keep doing what you’re doing – bringing this gospel to everyone, everywhere.”

  Social worker


 
“The personal stories put a real face on this model. All of your examples and stories are from the heart to the heart. Because this is about part of life – several times I was reminded of situations, people in my own community, pieces of this model that already are happening – but the model seems to pull those pieces together and tap into the power of a group, the gifts that each person brings to the group, and how to make caregiving a sustainable and blossoming proposal.”

  Activity Director Residential Care Home


“This was a wonderful seminar. The personal stories and videos were wonderful and it makes all the difference in knowing it really works.”

  Social Worker in LTC facility


 
“Very empowering. As we baby boomers age, we will need to take care of each other because there is going to be a serious shortage of health care professionals. Plus with recent government budget cuts, agencies aren’t going to be able to provide the same level of service. We will have to depend on volunteers.”

  RN

 
“Excellent workshop. Very real practical information. This type of care can certainly enrich the lives of so many – whose only alternatives may be institutionalization.”

  Home Health RN & Case Manager


“I liked having an opportunity to participate in a mock group because ideas and possibilities expanded as the group explored the needs.”

  Volunteer Coordinator


“The exercise about working as a team around a specific case was eye-opening in all the multiple needs that can come up and how do you encompass all of that. I found the story buildup and history also important to make the experience complete.”

  Client Services Manager, for HIV/AIDS


“Such a wonderful experience in caring for our fellow human beings. Outstanding example of high quality human service.”

  RN


“The presentation was inspiring, uplifting, full of wonderful ideas, well-timed breaks, well organized presentation. Sheila has a great speaking style – held my interest throughout – so much interesting and useable information.”
  

  Community Outreach
Worker


“The encouragement and the practical suggestions of Share The Care™ are making the difference between my wife, Betsy, spending her last years in a nursing home and spending her last years in our home, surrounded by people (Team Betsy) who love her.”

  Richard Baer, RN, M.Ed., Denver Hospice


An excerpt from Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence

Bantam Dell, 2006 (page 237) (with permission)

Chapter 16 – Stress Is Social

(From last sub-section – Social Epigenetics)

“Collective social intelligence can offer an alternative to the overwhelming toll of caregiving. Witness the scene in Sandwich, New Hampshire, where Philip Simmons sat in his wheelchair on a brilliant fall day, surrounded by friends and neighbors. At age thirty-five Simmons, a college English teacher with two small children, had been diagnosed with the degenerative neurological condition Lou Gehrig’s disease and given two to five years to live. He had already outlived his prognosis, but now the paralysis was moving from his lower body to his arms, making him unable to perform even routine tasks. At this point he gave a friend a book called Share The Care, which describes how to create an ongoing support group for someone with a severe illness.
Thirty-five neighbors rallied to help Simmons and his family. Coordinating their schedule largely by phone and email, they acted as cooks, drivers, babysitters, home aides – and, as on that fall day, yard workers–for the last several years of Simmons’s life, until he died at age forty-five. This virtual extended family made an immense difference for Simmons and his wife, Kathryn Field. Not least, their help enabled Field to continue her work as a professional artist, easing the financial strain and giving the entire family, in her words, “a sense of being loved by our community.”
As for those who formed FOPAK (Friends of Phil and Kathryn), as they called themselves, most agreed that they were the ones receiving the gift.

“I think the (STC) book was the best piece of information we received in all our searching. It is the greatest and I recommend it to everyone who asks about our situation. I wish that all hospitals could hand it out when they give you a diagnosis for ALS. I wish you could get a grant to have it placed in every hospital waiting room and doctor’s office. Everyone knows someone who could benefit from reading it.”

  Kathryn Field, FOPAK

You have come to the right place if...

You’re in a faith community

looking for a plan to organize your members

and guide them to support each other

in times of need.

Welcome to

SHARE THE CARE™

Now and In the coming decades, cuts to funded caregiving programs and services as well as the lack of caregivers (both professionals and younger potential caregivers) will make the faith communities throughout the world the place where people will turn for support.

Though this role is not an unfamiliar one, having a faith community that is well prepared to support their members who are ill, aging or in need of care is critical. We believe the benefits of an organized teamwork approach like Share The Care™ (STC) can make a profound difference.

Over the last 20 years, the STC model has demonstrated the flexibility that groups welcome, and an effective plan of action to guide them, saving precious time trying to figure out who should do what.

As people age they tend to grow more spiritual. And for older adults or others who have no family, their faith community will need to step up to the plate and become “family”.

The philosophy and principles of the STC approach are based in a loving and compassionate approach that embraces all forms of faith.

AWARD VIDEO

In December 2013 Diane Cooper, Founder and Executive Director of Caregivers Outreach Ministry Empowerment, Inc. presented Sheila Warnock with the Community Service Award.

C.O.M.E. Inc. was founded by, Diane, who is also a registered nurse and has more than 30 years of community contact with family caregivers of the elderly. C.O.M.E.’s mission is to assure that resources for family caregivers are readily accessible within the community in which they live and to promote self-care.

The awards luncheon and ceremony honored 13 deserving family caregivers that day. See video clip of Sheila’s thank you speech.


We invite feedback from all faith communities using STC. By telling us about your experiences and ideas with us so we can share the advice and information to help thousands of others.

Stories and photos of your faith communities and STC are welcome.

Examples of Faith Communities Using STC

The First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills, New York

The Loving Goal of a Global Faith Community Comes to Life with Share The Care™

The First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills is applying Share The Care™ to improve the quality of life of caregivers and care recipients across an entire church community. More than 40 of 150 members, from a wide variety of countries, are actively involved.

One of three coordinators explains: “It’s a lovely thing that is emerging in our church. Between quarterly meetings, people volunteer for whatever they feel energized and able to do. Whenever a need arises, a team of 3-6 caregivers comes together to take up the charge.”

Members of the Care Crew
Care Crew during local Nursing Home visits
Care Crew in Action

The church’s care teams include:

  • Members of a Pastoral Care Crew offer a listening ear for those who request ongoing counseling.

  • An On Call Emergency & Shut-In Crew responds to urgent care needs and makes hospital visits.

  • A few individuals are offering in-home assistance and transportation to medical appointments for a friend who is challenged by her own illness.

  • One team makes sure that a member has a ride to and from church each Sunday, accompanies her to medical appointments, and divvies up daily phone calls to check-in on her.

  • One team makes weekly phone calls to check-in on a member who is having trouble with her eyes.

  • One team looks for ways to assist a woman whose father is living at home with Alzheimer’s.

STC Christmas Caroling

“We have all experienced what happens when one person shoulders too much responsibility as a caregiver. We’re not letting that happen here,” explains a father of two from Jamaica.

“Our Care Crew needs to grow and continue for a long, long time,” attests a father of six from Zambia.

Nursing Home visits

A Colombian mental health professional adds: “It’s really nice to have a group like this in our church, where meetings open and close with prayer, and relationships grow deeper.”

A senior participant concludes (in her wonderful Portuguese accent): “This is what going to church is really all about: Loving each other!”

This group is happy to assist other congregations and faith-based communities to Share The Care™.


Most Precious Blood Catholic Church (MPB)

Denver, Colorado

Christine Maschka, Coordinator

(The following is from the Church website)

Help The Sick

Share The Care™ program is based upon a model of communal caring. It organizes the care of someone who is temporarily, chronically, progressively or terminally ill or has physical limitations.

Share The Care™ provides trusted, sustained and continuous support to an individual or family. It aims to bring relief to situations where the primary caregiver is overwhelmed with the care requirements of their loved one.

Share The Care™ Coordinator along with other trained facilitators will organize a community of care to provide help tapping into the care receiver’s own network of family, friends, neighbors as well as parish volunteers. A private website for each team is used to keep a calendar of needs and tracks who is meeting those needs. The website also provides a means of communication with the team through email and a message board. The Share The Care™ communal model of care giving offers a simple and effective solution to creating a network of care where no one person is bearing the burden alone.

If you would like to be part of a support network and make a difference in someone’s life, please contact this ministry.


Sometimes A Faith Community Must Travel

Wherever One or Two are Gathered

by Sheila Reed

For the past several years, I have spent most of my Sunday mornings at the Church of Lynn. Its sanctuary is half of a double room at the Founders Pavilion nursing facility in Corning. Its patron saint is Lynn Van Atta, my friend for over thirty years, although she would snort at any notion of saintliness.

Lynn suffers from a degenerative brain disorder that has gradually stolen her vision, her mobility, and her sense of time and space. She is tethered to the world by the ministrations of her caregivers and the daily visits of family and friends. Each of us has staked ourselves to a portion of Lynn’s week, when we arrive to share food and conversation, to read words of wisdom and comfort, to laugh over old stories.

My time is Sunday morning. I wend my way through the wheelchairs clustered by the third floor nurses’ station and arrive at room 306. Whether she is in bed or in the geriatric chair that holds her head and body steady, Lynn’s face beams at the sound of my greeting. Her eyes are often lidded or fully closed; Lynn sees without them. Her world is lit from within by little joys and epiphanies: the tart taste of apple on her tongue, a snatch of song from the past, the memory of a day on the beach with her beloved granddaughters.

This is my worship. To be in the presence of a soul growing ever closer to the light, whose illness has robbed her body of almost everything it can, save life itself, and acceptance, and grace in the face of terrible loss. A determination to live out her days with gratefulness for the things that remain.

It is in this presence that I approach my own best self. I am patient with Lynn’s frequent confusions, tender with my words. I battle with her the fearful images that her ravaged brain generates. We make our way through the verses of “Amazing Grace.” I sing her the song she loves by Libby Roderick:

How could anyone ever tell you/ You were anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you/ You were less than whole?
How could anyone fail to notice that your loving is a miracle?
These are our Sunday hymns. I place slices of clementine and bits of banana bread between Lynn’s lips slip some into my own mouth. This is our communion.
In Loving memory of Lynn Van Atta
Jesus said, ‘Wherever one or two are gathered in my name, there I am with them.”

Throughout my life I have experienced the presence of God in a variety of places, both humble and grand. Right now my church is half of a double room on the third floor of Founders Pavilion in Corning, New York.


Marcie’s Guardian Angels... An Inspiration

(An Excerpt)

Arlington, Texas

by Linda Gibson

Marcie Gibson

“A young family placed membership at our church and we learned that they were expecting Quads in the fall. Many of our church family told them they would be there to help – I wanted to help as well but was home with Marcie on a daily basis. (Marcie is Linda’s daughter and has ALS)

(Then) I woke up with an idea. I called my church to see if anyone had volunteered to organize caring for the babies but no one had. So I told the church secretary my plan about how we could Share The Care™ for these newborns as my church family had helped me. I could organize everything at home on my computer while I was caring for Marcie.

I went to the hospital to meet the mom of the soon to be Quads and her mom who lives two hours away. I wrote the plan down – how we had run “Marcie’s Guardian Angels”... As I left the hospital room I finally realized what “Marcie’s Guardian Angels” had been telling me all those years. I was so blessed to have the knowledge the Share The Care™ book had given me so that I could help this family expecting four new babies all at one time. I knew I could do it – I knew it would work – it had for my family.

So the plan is in place – I made one sign up sheet listing the five different specialized teams: Lawn care, Housekeeping, Meals, Donations, and Childcare. All five teams lead by five leaders will be guided by the Share The Care™ system.

Last Sunday we had a “signing day” after church – about 80 people had their pictures taken. We did this since both the young couple and I needed to put a name to a face before anyone came to their home. We have a very large church – everyone does not know everyone else. We also had people fill out background checks. Our church housed “guests” from the Hurricane Katrina disaster so this was “old hat” for our members now.

We’ll be going by the name... “The Diaper Darlings.”

You can read the full story on the Stories Section of this website.


Update on Steece Quads and their Diaper Darlings

(An Excerpt)

by Linda Gibson

The Quads have about 50 adopted Mom’s, Grandma’s, Great Grandma’s and Grandpa’s who love them dearly. I can’t put myself on the weekly schedule since I am caring for Marcie, however, I get my “baby fix” when visiting on weekends. For four months the Diaper Darlings have been there from 7:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m. with three families spending the nights two days a week.  Now that the Quads are sleeping through the night, we just need to cover from 9:30 am till 6:00 pm. And soon we’ll be cutting back even more from 1:00 p.m. till 6:30 p.m.

Suzanne, means so much to me now. I have adopted her and her husband, Joe, and all four babies. I was so lucky to have the knowledge of how to organize this wonderful group of Christian men and women who make up the Diaper Darlings. Suzanne has enough confidence in our team now that she can take a nap or run to the store if she needs to and we’re there for them on weekends, as needed. And that’s when I get to help!  On Sunday mornings I’m there so Joe and Suzanne can go to church.

So, the Share The Care™ program not only helps people who are ill, but can also provide support to families during times of great joy as well. I’m so blessed to be able to offer this assistance to so many families. It feels so good to be able to “give back” the gifts given to me, and my family, while caring for my daughter, Marcie.

Faith Community Seeding

“Seeding Share The Care™ (STC) in Your Community” Program

“Seeding Share The Care™ (STC) in Your Community” Program is a full-day professional training designed specifically for health professionals and the clergy. It gives you the tools and the knowledge to, introduce STC to your patients, families, parishioners and encourages them to consider STC as a positive and rewarding caregiving option. The training is limited to 40 to 60 participants.

The program is accredited by the VT State Nurses’ Association so that RNs can receive continuing education credits (6.25 hrs).

Who can be trained?

Nurses, social workers, hospice workers, hospital discharge personnel, chaplains, geriatric care managers, aging specialists, therapists, support group program leaders, students of social work and nursing. Volunteers who work in hospice or faith-based programs, and in caregiver support programs are also well positioned to identify needs and help people understand the benefits that can result from a created “caregiving family”.

Interested local and government organizations, faith communities, hospitals and hospices have pooled funds or received grants to host a training in order to establish the STC model locally.

Trainees learn:

  • ways to motivate patients and families to accept help

  • the key steps to organize a first group meeting

  • how groups can utilize the skills and talents within the group

  • ways STC groups can maintain their efforts over time

  • how a group can maximize everyone’s skills and talents

  • the signals that the group needs to readjust to the changing needs of their care recipient

  • what it feels like to work in a mock STC with people they don’t know to cover their critical needs

For information or to receive a detailed proposal, please contact swarnock@sharethecare.org.

Video testimonial from a professional training participant

STC Offerings

For Your Next Event...

Book A Speaker Who Can Make A Real Difference

We will work with you to tailor a presentation for your audience and type of event: conference, seminar, keynote or workshop.

  • Faith Community conferences, retreats

  • Caregivers and concerned friends, support groups

  • Chaplains, seminary/chaplaincy students

  • Women’s/men’s organizations, clubs, community centers

  • Caregiving crisis, aging in place issues, end of life concerns

  • Teamwork, community building seminars

Contact us at offerings@sharethecare.org for availability, information and fees.

Click here to download our Speaker flyer as a PDF.

Click to see our Professional Training Section for details.


Programs & Workshops For The Faith Community

Who Cares for the Caregiver?

(for professional audiences)

Share The Care™ (STC) is a highly regarded grassroots caregiving model used throughout the U.S., Canada and other countries to help people who are in need of support. It was created from the real-life needs and the experiences of 12 women (who didn’t know each other) who cared for a terminally ill friend. By working closely together for nearly four years they learned to create a model that could support their friend as well as themselves, so no one person had too much to do and each managed to keep her own life in good working order.

Professionals will learn the first steps needed to organize the critical first meeting of a STC group and why working as a close-knit team maintains the group’s long-term ability to sustain their support. During this overview of the STC model, participants learn about the key STC systems and see examples of STC in action in other communities as well as some of the inspiring accomplishments of STC groups from around the world.

Audience: health professionals conferences, seminars, or workshop

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, handout brochures


How to turn “What Can I do to Help?” into Action

(for faith communities, support groups and caregivers)

A friend tells you of a loved one’s illness. Another says she or he is caring for an aging parent. A couple faces long-term health issues with no outside support. We’ve all said it – because it’s the most universal, most instinctive reaction: “What can I do to help?” Everyone will be touched by caregiving at some point in life. What can each of us do now so that we are better prepared for our turn at bat? And how can we avoid burning out?

During this introduction to the Share The Care™ (STC) model, you’ll hear the hear the story of how the first STC group was born and, what happened to inspire the authors to write the STC guidebook so that others could follow in their footsteps.

The presentation includes examples of STC groups who have gone above and beyond the usual caregiving “call of duty” and their very inspiring accomplishments.

This presentation is about "“community” at its best.

A perfect presentation for: general public, faith communities, events and conferences and support groups.

(60-90 minute) Q & A, Handout brochures


Single, Separated, Widowed or Divorced –
“Who Cares for the Person Who Lives Alone?”

(general public, faith communities, community events)

Today more and more people live alone far from family; or they have no family. What happens when they need help?  Who will care for them?

This presentation is filled with stories of groups that came to the rescue of individuals without family, or spouse, or relatives who could take on a caregiver role.

The audience learns through storytelling of how “created Share The Care™ (STC) families” have overcome some very difficult challenges. And though these families cannot cure, they can heal.

This presentations includes what it takes to start a STC group as well as important suggestions on how we can each “be better prepared” should we ever need support–no matter if we have family or not.

Audience: anyone living alone, communities, villages, aging organizations

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures.


Caregiver Coaching

“Let’s Get Started”

A Workshop For Caregivers & Concerned Friends

(caregivers, care recipients without a caregiver and two committed friends for each)

Workshop Description:

If your organization or institution works with caregivers who are ready to accept a Share The Care™ (STC) group, but need guidance to get started we offer a special workshop. Because the initial STC group meeting is designed to be organized and led by two committed friends, each caregiver will need to enlist them to attend.

Working together in little groups within a larger group, people feel more encouraged and less alone in their need for outside support.

Following background stories and examples of what groups are capable of doing we walk everyone through each of the steps needed to organize and maintain their first STC meeting. Lots of Q & A and sharing.

If a care recipient has no family caregiver – this is a wonderful way for two friends to start a “caregiving family” to support them.

Following this workshop each should leave with plan of action and a sense of confidence and enthusiasm about accepting help.

This workshop is between 3 – 3.5 hours (depending on number of people.) There is minimum of 30 people.

Materials: Each participant receives a copy of the STC guidebook and a special workbook that includes 23 STC forms, handouts and suggestions.


Consultations For Faith Communities

The Share The Care™ (STC) model can be an excellent addition to any program or workshops you provide for your faith community. Let us help you make STC part of your program to make life better for your caregivers and their loved ones.

Quotes from Clergy & Parishioners Using STC

“Our church is using STC to coordinate caregiving to assure that we all truly take care of each other, sharing the tasks, with each person contributing exactly what they have time to do and what they most enjoy doing. It’s just amazing the difference it is making and how meaningful it rapidly became to participants. We try to make sure that everyone has what they need-both caregivers and people we reach. It’s an awesome model for churches and we’d love to help spread it to more congregations!”

  Melinda Lackey, Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills


“We have all experienced what happens when one person shoulders too much responsibility as a caregiver. We’re not letting that happen here, ” explains a father of two from Jamaica.
“Our Care Crew needs to grow and continue for a long, long time,” attests a father of six from Zambia.
A Colombian mental health professional adds: “It’s really nice to have a group like this in our church, where meetings open and close with prayer, and relationships grow deeper.”
A senior participant concludes (in her wonderful Portuguese accent): “This is what going to church is really all about: Loving each other!”

  Quotes from Care Crew – First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills


“I was all alone. I prayed a lot but I was afraid that nobody would know if something happened to me. Now a wonderful person gives me a ride to church on Sunday, and helps me get to doctor appointments. Somebody calls me on the phone every morning to make sure I am okay. I have so much support now! It is wonderful, and I love this church.”

  Long-time member First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills


“(We) were discussing different ways to incorporate Share The Care into our Ministry and reach out to the greater Suamico community with it and have already begun planning to do so. Claire did a fabulous job presenting Share The Care™. She is so honestly committed to this program and it shows. Her belief in Share The Care is a true inspiration to those of us who are looking to learn new ways to reach out and help others.
I look forward to Share The Care™ & working together to make a difference in our community and the lives of our neighbors.”

  Excerpt from an email to WI STC Station Manager from
  Director of Family & Youth Ministry
  St. John’s Lutheran Church


“As you may have heard by now, Mary Pat has ovarian cancer. During her treatment many people want to help, but don’t know how.
Last night, a group of friends from St. Giles family Mass Community got together with Mary Pat to pray and begin to organize Mary Pat’s Community of Care. We are using the book Share The Care which gives a format for structuring a care group so that no one gets overwhelmed or burned out, and Mary Pat is relieved of the burden of asking for help.
With prayers and laughter, we made a list of all of Mary Pat’s friends and family. We will be calling or emailing to invite you to the meeting.”

  From Mary Pat’s Community of Care Blog


“I found your book about two and a half years ago when a friend was being treated for cancer. I was the coordinator of her Share The Care™ group and the book told me everything I needed to get started. We took care of our friend until she died in April of 1999 and it was a profound experience.
During that time, I spoke to several churches in the Madison WI area about Share The Care™ and many more groups have been formed.”

  L. Dillenberg


“I was a Funny Family (what original STC groups were called) member for a dear neighbor, Bobbie Dean, 11 years ago as she entered final stage of breast cancer. Our Priest gathered her Funny Family (all neighbors) to teach us to help her through her death.  I see the experience as one of the highlights of my life.
I  hope to help others when I have more time in my life and to teach others how to Share The Care™ for people they care about.”

  Chrissy Akers


“March 29 marks the anniversary of my mother’s death. It seems fitting that I should recognize the enormous contribution Share The Care™ made in her comfort and will being right up to her final hour...
In a state of emotional and physical fatigue, I dropped in to Hospice Peterborough to ask for guidance. Sherry gave me Share The Care™. Within two days, my sister and I met with our chosen leader from outside the family. Within a week, he led a meeting at my mother’s church with 35 people who, with a few others, formed our Circle of Care...
With the system in place. I devoted my time to Mum. I had only to communicate with the leader and everything was taken care of. The whole family felt the support and love of Mum’s Circle of Care.”

  Sylvia Cashmore


“We really have the BEST team of volunteers from my church and other surrounding churches (even my church back in WACO have been helping out tremendously!!!) I needed to send a separate “shout out” to all the wonderful people who are still coming over to love on these kiddos and help me with the daily dishes, laundry, bottles, cleaning, feeding, playing…and allowing me to get out of the house!
Linda Gibson is the mastermind behind the organized group and I couldn’t imagine getting through these last few months with our her. I also wanted to thank everyone who is still bringing food over…We are just overwhelmed.
If anyone is ever interested in how we got this group going... Linda and I would love to talk with you about it. We got the idea from Share The Care™.”

  From a blog post by the mother of the Steece Quadruplets


“I had the pleasure and opportunity to organize 3 Share The Care groups within my parish community... we called the ministry “Circle of Hands”... each one was different and required different levels of support…it was amazing. Now 6 years later in a new state I may begin another group.
What a gift this is. Thank you. I just read Cappy’s story... amazing... I’m without words, my mind and heart are reeling. This is a true testimony to the power of love, community... the power of God... I will keep Share The Care™ in my prayers, it is a true blessing.”

  Dianna Haussmann


“We are just now forming our group to be “launched” in September as a new ministry for our church, so we are not sure how many caregivers/recipients there will be. We do have church members suffering with MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, etc. So I know the care group will be very helpful.
We are starting with assisting people in our congregation, then hoping to expand to come along side their extended families and friends, and eventually to the community surrounding the church.
I had volunteered in a Share The Care™ group at another church a few years ago.
It’s such an honor to serve the Lord with these folks, since several of the volunteer caregivers have or are suffering from diseases or other issues themselves. It’s a great Inspiration.”

  Paula J. Shore
  Edgewood Baptist Church
  Edmonds, WA


 
“A Durango-based ecumenical Bible-study group for women has developed a secular ministry to help the ill or injured through trying times.
Member’s of Great ol’ Broads of God’s, who started meeting about eight years ago, learned by chance last year of Share The Care™, a system that spreads the commonplace tasks of caregiving among many volunteers. The Great ol’ Broads adopted the system, a national model, and saw it work with one of their own.
...Great ‘ol Broad Pat Robertson of Durango learned about Share The Care™ last year when she helped a terminally ill friend in Dixon,  N.M.  The friend received her diagnosis of cancer in April and died in June. But during the interval, Robertson saw what seemed like the entire community join the care brigade.
‘It was very effective’, Robertson says.”

  A Small Excerpt From The Durango Herald
  Sharing The Care by Dale Rodebaugh


“It has been a terribly sad deterioration, and (Lynn’s) ability to communicate has changed in the last few weeks. Lynn has many friends and our STC group remains at about 20. We have changed our five member women’s group of 30 years from visiting in each other’s homes to meeting at her nursing facility every other week. She can no longer attend church and so her Friend’s group comes to her once a month. Lynn is frightened by the changes happening to her, and since her memory is declining as well, she cannot remember our daily visits, but we continue to go since when we are with her, she calms down and feels safer.
The facility staff has often commented on her loving group. Her roommate has become an unofficial part of the group and we all appreciate her caring, too. I call her Lynn’s Guardian Angel....
This is a difficult time for the STC group, as well, in dealing with our own feelings of loss and sorrow for our friend, but we have called on one another to support each other and share that caring as well.”

  Bonnie Chollet


“We would not have been able to get through this like we did, if not for Share The Care™, Andrea said. “It made all the difference to have people coming alongside us, because, with a long-term illness like Peter’s, you feel like you are drowning, like you are going under. The Share The Care™ people were the life savers that brought us back to the surface and held us up in ways that we never could have imagined.”
                                                              

  On Faith: Share The Care
  by Cindy Trane Christeson a story about Peter and Andrea Devin (Peter had ALS)
  Newport Beach Independent Newspaper

What is a STC Station

In order to successfully disseminate the STC model locally, following a training, an organization (or several organizations or faith communities) may choose to create a “STC Station.”

The purpose of a STC Station is to

  1. promote and provide information about STC
  2. coach those who need assistance to get a STC group going
  3. offer local resources and referrals as necessary
  4. provide feedback on local group activity to STCG

Flyers, small space ads, articles, posters, and brochures are placed in community centers, places of worship, pharmacies, hospitals, and libraries to engage people and make them aware of the Station, the handbook and the STC website.

Each piece of advertising invites them to call a local number to learn more about the model and/or to receive coaching to start a group.

Community outreach is one aspect of a Station Manager’s role. They make presentations to support groups, clubs, associations, faith communities, community centers, or anywhere people gather. They also do interviews for their local newspapers, radio or TV stations.

Social workers, parish nurses, counseling professionals, trained volunteers or even past Share The Care group participants are ideal to do this work. The main requirement is passion... we call them “STC Champions.”

A Station can be located in a small corner within an office with a computer. It’s best to choose a space where people already go to access healthcare advice or information (e.g., clinics, hospice, faith communities, and community centers where support programs are offered.)

Ordering STC Station Materials

Station Materials including a Station Manager’s manual are available on request for a fee.

Contact us for details.
Stations@sharethecare.org

See: Examples of STC in Communities – Wisconsin to learn about a comprehensive STC Station Program funded by the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources

You have come to the right place if…

You’re in a corporation looking for resources

and ways to support employees

who are also caring for a family member

as well as employees undergoing treatment themselves.

Welcome to

SHARE THE CARE™

Tackling the issue of supporting family caregivers in the workplace and employees undergoing treatment requires the effort of a multi-faceted and compassionate TEAM in order to make a significant impact.

Share The Care™ (STC) is honored to be a Co-Chair of the NYC Partnership for Family Caregiving Corps created and sponsored by EmblemHealth to help businesses and their employees reduce the impact on productivity due to family caregiving issues. The members include:

Executive Co-Chair

Gregory Johnson, EmblemHealth

Co-Chairs

Sheila Warnock, Share The Care™

Marion Gambardella, Spiritual Conditioning for Family Caregivers

Catherine Thurston, SAGE

Maggie Monroe-Richter, Intersections International

Advisors

Ali Hodin Baier, Aging in New York Fund

Peter Strauss, Esq., Epstein, Becker & Green

Dr. Robin Fenley, New York City Department for the Aging

Gail Gibson Hunt, National Alliance for Caregiving

Click to Contact the NYCP4FCC

The Corps is the brainchild of Greg Johnson. His vision for the Corps follows:

Family Caregiving has many faces and at some point in our lives each of us becomes a family caregiver and most of us will also be cared for by others.

Family Caregivers are the backbone of the world’s healthcare systems... both families of origin and families of choice. We at EmblemHealth applaud and salute each.

The intersection, the convergence of work life and family caregiving is an important point of focus that for too long has not been given its needed attention. Recent studies have shown that corporate USA loses between $17 and 38 Billion annually for family caregiving related issues... absenteeism and presenteeism are only the beginning points for this loss. I have always felt we are persons dedicated to family caregiving and family caregivers can help to change that. Fortunately, EmblemHealth, a NYC base Health and Wellness Corporation has been bringing focus, attention, awareness, tools and resources to family caregivers for well over a decade and I have been the person blessed to create and implement EmblemHealth’s Care for the Family Caregiver Initiative.

It is true that with family caregiving one cannot pay it away; pray it away or prescribe it away... you need all three... but ultimately you need to go through it and it is our hope that you will grow through it.

To that end with the support of EmblemHealth... I created the NYC Partnership For Family Caregiving Corps... literally an “army” for the corporations... and “army” of family caregiving “generalists” who stand ready to help bring about Awareness... Acceptance and Action bringing help and hope to family caregivers and their care recipients alike.

Sheila Warnock and Share The Care™... are key, vital partners in this mission. We salute you with deep gratitude and affection. Onward...

Gregory L. Johnson

Director, Community Outreach

Creator: EmblemHealth’s

Care for the Family Caregiver Program

STC Support for Working Caregivers & Employees Undergoing Treatment

Share The Care™ (STC) grew out of a meeting with twelve women who showed up to support a mutual friend who was a divorced, working mom (for a large Fortune 500 company) with two young teens, and a rare terminal cancer. The video describes how they came up with the key system (The Rotating Captains System) By working this way, no one burned out while they cared for her over three and a half years.

You may know of a co-worker who is struggling with caregiving responsibilities or who may be working while they undergo treatment for an illness. Please do consider ways you can lighten their load in and out of the office, just like the friends, co-workers and acquaintances who showed up for Susan. If a co-worker has no family nearby, your concern and assistance will be one of the greatest gifts you can offer. A little compassion can be the turning point between despair and relief.

Caregiving is the Toughest Job in the World

Caregiving is the toughest job in the world. And for the working caregiver it can be a living nightmare — It’s like being suffocated by an overwhelming, terrifyingly complex job with no relief in sight.

Many of us have been there.

Difficulties crop up in the workplace because far too many employees hide the fact they’re shouldering such a responsibility. They fear losing their job. Or they don’t know how to ask for help. Or they just think they have to do it alone. Others may know of their struggles and offer help but rarely does anyone know how to turn those offers into positive action.

Employers have taken decisive steps to assist through a variety of programs:  job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work schedules, flex time, leave without pay and much more.

Yet in spite of all this flexibility, working caregivers continue to be overwhelmed because they just don’t have enough support at home.

Besides their job, they shoulder complex emotional and physical demands in addition to household chores, meals, as well as critical errands and responsibilities that inevitably lead to isolation and depression.

Yet there is a simple, effective and compassionate solution that can provide a true benefit to your caregiver employees — at minimum consequence to you both financially and emotionally. Just like the team-building models you use to solve critical concerns in your organization, our team-building model is there to solve caregiving issues.

It’s called Share The Care™.

  

It was born out of real life experience and need. The model has empowered hundreds of thousands of friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances and co-workers with a step-by-step plan to form and maintain their own caregiving team to take on all kinds of caregiving challenges be they simple or complex.

A STC team supports not just the person needing care but also their primary caregiver and other family members. Anywhere from 8 to 80 participants collaborate to share responsibilities and allocate jobs based on schedule, skill and capability.

The immediate result for the caregiver employee is a visible reduction of stress, and improved overall physical and emotional well-being. As one caregiver put it: “I began to breathe again.”

No matter if one is caring for a chronically ill child, an aging parent, a spouse with a debilitating long-term illness or a short-term injury — the experience of sharing the care builds a sense of community both in and out of the office.

The model teaches participants the value of working together to become stronger, more informed and more experienced for a time when they will inevitably need to take on the role of caregiver for their own family.

Together with everyone in the NYC Partnership for Family Caregiver Corps, Share The Care™’s goal is to work with you to reverse the negative equation of caregiving in the workplace, restore productivity and help your caregiver employees and their loved ones experience a better “quality of life.”

STC Corporate Offerings

For Your Next Event...

Book A Speaker Who Can Make A Real Difference

We will work with you to tailor a presentation for your audience and type of event (conference, seminar, keynote, workshop, or lunch & learn)

Sheila can tailor her speech, keynote, workshop or presentation for a:

  • Corporate conference, seminar, workshop

  • Corporate caregiver issues, lunch & learn

  • Teamwork seminars for employees or management

To discuss, please contact us at offerings@sharethecare.org for availability, information and fees.

Click here to download our Speaker flyer as a PDF.

Presentation Descriptions

The descriptions below are of our most popular presentations/workshops.

Who Cares for the Caregiver?

(for management conference on caregiver issues)

Share The Care™ (STC) is a highly regarded grassroots caregiving model used throughout the U.S., Canada and other countries to help people who are in need of support. It was created from the real-life needs and the experiences of 12 women (who didn’t know each other) who cared for a terminally ill friend. By working closely together for nearly four years they learned to create a model that could support their friend as well as themselves, so no one person had too much to do and each managed to keep her own life in good working order.

Management personnel will learn the first steps needed to organize the critical first meeting of a STC group and why working as a close-knit team maintains the group’s long-term ability to sustain their support.

During this overview of the STC model, participants learn about the key STC systems and see examples of STC in action in other communities as well as some of the inspiring accomplishments of STC groups from around the world.

The goal is to make them aware of a resource that can help their employees who could benefit from this kind of support.

Audience: Management seminars, or workshop

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures

Contact us for availability and information at: offerings@sharethecare.org


How to turn “What Can I do to Help?” Into Action

(for all employees)

A friend tells you of a loved one’s illness. Another says she or he is caring for an aging parent. A couple faces long-term health issues with no outside support. We’ve all said it—because it’s the most universal, most instinctive reaction: “What can I do to help?” Everyone will be touched by caregiving at some point in life. What can each of us do now so that we are better prepared for our turn at bat? And how can we avoid burning out on the job?

During this introduction to the Share The Care™ (STC) model, you’ll hear the story of how the first STC group was born to help a divorced working mom with two teens and terminal cancer. And what happened to inspire the authors to write the STC guidebook so that others could follow in their footsteps.

The presentation includes examples of STC groups who have gone above and beyond the usual caregiving “call of duty” and their very inspiring accomplishments.

This presentation is about “workplace community” at its best.

Audience: perfect presentation for all employees, caregiver events and in-house support groups.

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures

Contact us for availability and information at: offerings@sharethecare.org


Single, Separated, Widowed or Divorced – “Who Cares for the Person Who Lives Alone?”

(for all employees)

Today more and more people live alone far from family; or they have no family.  What happens when they need help?  Who will care for them?

This Share The Care™ (STC) presentation is filled with stories of groups that came to the rescue of individuals without family, or spouse, or relatives who could take on a caregiver role.

The audience learns through storytelling of how a “created STC families” have overcome some very difficult challenges. And though these families cannot cure, they can heal.

This presentations includes what it takes to start a STC group as well as important suggestions on how we can each “be better prepared” should we ever need support–no matter if we have family or not.

Audience: employees who live alone and especially those in treatment who have no family (nearby). For people who want to “be prepared” should they ever need the support of others.

(60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures

Contact us for availability and information at: offerings@sharethecare.org


Caregiver Coaching

“Let’s Get Started”

A Workshop For Caregivers & Concerned Friends

(caregivers, care recipients without a caregiver and two committed friends for each)

Workshop Description:

If your corporate community has a number of employees who are caregivers and/or employees undergoing treatment and they are ready to accept a Share The Care™ (STC) group, but need guidance to get started, we offer a special workshop. Because the initial STC group meeting is designed to be organized and led by two committed friends, each employee will need to enlist them to attend.

Working together in little groups within a larger group, people can feel more encouraged and less alone in their need for outside support.

Following background stories and examples of what groups are capable of doing we walk everyone through each of the steps needed to organize and maintain their first STC meeting. Lots of Q & A and sharing.

If an employee undergoing treatment has no family (nearby) this is a wonderful way for two friends or co-workers to initiate a “caregiving family” to support them.

Following this workshop each person, within their small team, should leave with plan of action and a sense of confidence and enthusiasm about accepting help.

This workshop is between 3 – 3.5 hours There is minimum of 30 people.  It can be scheduled for weekend or after work hours.

Materials: Each participant receives a copy of the STC guidebook and a special workbook that includes 23 STC forms, handouts and suggestions (60-90 minutes) Q & A, Handout brochures.


A STC Teambuilding Training For Corporation Management

(conference seminar)

Coming soon


Corporation Sponsorship

Your corporation can make a profound impact by supporting our efforts to create much-needed Share The Care™ tools/products/offerings that can help caregiver employees, employees undergoing treatment, and others new to caregiving.

Please contact @sharethecare.org for sponsorship.

New York City Partnership For Family Caregiver Corps Offerings

Do you know how many of your employees are also family caregivers?

Statistics show that today, one in three people are the unpaid caregivers to a parent, spouse, partner, disabled child, sibling, or ill friend, qualifying them as family caregivers. Most often they are women in what we often call the “sandwich generation” – caring for an ailing parent as well as their own family.

And because of the burden of this additional role of caregiver, that lasts much longer than 9–5, they are more often less productive on the job as they would want to be due to the added stresses and inevitable depression.

The NYCP4FC Corps has aligned six non-profit organizations to help corporate leaders learn more about the financial impact of family caregiving and to offer diverse ways to address this issue.

Originally sponsored by an existing “Care for the Family Caregiver” Initiative at EmblemHealth, the Partnership was launched to unite six generalists, already in the business of helping communities. The NYCP4FC Corps provides a full complement of services and information to address the many faces of family caregiving (not just the elderly) in a campaign of Awareness, Acceptance and Action.

Through programs, services, interventions, educational outreach and customized offerings, the NYCP4FC Corps seeks to help corporations improve their bottom line by helping their staff meet the challenges of both employee and caregiver roles with grace and dignity.

An Article in ‘Provider: Long Term & Post-Acute Care‘ Magazine:

New York Corps Rethinks Value of Family Care – Click to download/read it as a PDF. Most recently the NYCP4FCC has been part of two very large Family Caregiving Summits titled: “NAME IT; KNOW ITS MANY FACES”

Fordam University

Hosted By: Fordham University

Sponsored By: EmblemHealth and NYCP4FC Corps


The American Academy of Medicine

Hosted By: NY Academy of Medicine

Sponsored By: EmblemHealth’s NYC Partnership for Family Caregiving Corps in partnership with: Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service: Be the Evidence Project

Both conferences were aimed at attracting the following audiences:

  • A caregiver or a corporation interested in addressing your employee’s caregiving issues

  • A member of an organization that supports caregiving

  • A care recipient

  • Anyone interested in family caregiving issue

To learn more please contact Corps@sharethecare.org and visit the website: www.corporatecaregivers.com

NYC Partnership 4 Family Caregiving Corps Event at TIME inc.

Click on the image to see it enlarged

On Wednesday, March 25th EmblemHealth’s NYCP4FCC came together for a very productive event at TIME, Inc. “Care For the Caregiver – Real Solutions for Tough Situations”

The large conference room was packed with over 50 working caregivers who joined us to learn about what the Corps had to offer. Instead of just having everyone just talk to Corps members one-on-one at their respective tables, Greg Johnson thought it would be much more productive to try a different format. As always, he graciously introduced the Corps panel members and gave us time to talk about our work and what we had to offer in the way of help. Then the room was opened up for Q & A.

Working this way allowed for each question to answered by panel members with different points of view (which provided more options) and also allowed everyone present to have an opportunity to hear and learn something of great value that also concerned them.

Afterwards, many caregivers told us how glad they were to have taken their lunch time to attend. They realized that they shared many concerns with others in their workplace and the discussions made them feel that they were “not so alone” in their struggles.

 

EmblemHealth's NYC Partnership For Family Caregiving Corps:

Share The Care

Friends In Deed

Sage

Intersections International (especially for Veterans/persons caring for a Veteran)

Spritual Conditioning...
Support Groups

Aging In NY Fund/DFTA

EmblemHealth

What Working Caregivers Say

“I just learned about your group and your efforts today, after finally acknowledging to myself, my wife, and a friend or two this weekend that I am in danger of losing my job unless I confront the burnout I am experiencing and make some changes...
know that caregiving financial assistance in these days of economic turmoil is pretty nonexistent, so I am grateful to have found your site.
“I usually manage to get an attitude of gratitude together to help get me through, but this week and the past few have found me with my head in the clouds, and those clouds have been very dark. I am glad to have found you and your site.”

  Email from a working caregiver


“My Mom needed 24 hour care. I was overwhelmed. I have three small children. My husband works long hours. All of my family lives on the East Coast. I had felt so isolated and alone.
prayed to God to give me the strength to do it all, instead, he had my boss hold a (Share The Care™) meeting. When I walked into the room, I knew my prayers were answered, for he had sent me an ‘Army of Angels.’”

  Patricia McHale

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