There are only four kinds of people in the world – Those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. – Rosalynn Carter
Last week’s post, Aging In San Diego: Daughterhood Launches In San Diego Part I, covered how Christine Davies, Christine Davies, Founder and Director of Casa Companion Homecare Solutions, Karen Van Dyke, Founder of Senior Care By Design, and Anne Tumlinson, Washington D.C.-based author, consultant and aging expert, and creator of Daughterhood.org, came together to launch Daughterhood San Diego. All three women’s mission is creating a resource and bolster for caregivers experiencing daughterhood as individuals, whose greatest strength and assistance may lie in encouraging and edifying one another.
Karen and Christine invited their friends and colleagues to participate in the launch party last month. Karen is also the person who brought Death Café to San Diego [see the Casa blog post from December 2014] , and she, Christine and Anne see many similarities in the two concepts. Death Cafes are meant to bring a topic that people are typically very uncomfortable discussing – death – to a casual ‘tea-and-cakes’ format. Caregiving has a similar invisibility and unmentionable status in our society, which often extends to the caretaker. Continuing the celebratory theme, the first Daughterhood San Diego meeting featured chocolate-covered strawberries, sparkling wine with berries, and cake, and conversation-starter questions, which are a key element of Death Café, on strips of paper for the groups.
To begin the meeting, the three leaders shared their personal experiences with caregiving, and why they feel so strongly about caregivers and the need for mutual support. Then, the women divided into four break-out groups, and the bowls of starter questions were handed out as prompts to discussion. For the next hour or so, the room filled with bursts of laughter, deep emotion, and honest talk about the realities of caregiving. After the discussion session ended, most of the groups revealed that they never got to the starter questions at all, but found plenty to talk about just introducing themselves to one another.
Launched in January 2015, the Daughterhood website is a blog, a clearinghouse for resources, and a vital reality check for any caregiver who has ever wondered, “Am I the only one out here doing this?” Anne Tumlinson, Christine Davies, and Karen Van Dyke are very clear that Daughterhood is not a support group, but rather a virtual resource with the added benefit of in-person group meetings and camaraderie.
After the meeting, Christine and Karen reported that:
“We had a successful launch – the feedback was overwhelmingly excellent and we absolutely plan on expanding and growing the San Diego Daughterhood group locally. It was a clear that there is a huge need and desire for this. The attendees really appreciated the format, the camaraderie, and the fact that it was fun and it didn’t feel like a ‘support group’ even though the women absolutely will support each other. We plan on hosting monthly meetings/hangouts, expanding our Facebook presence in order to have a platform for Daughterhood San Diego to get fast answers and information as needed. As it grows, we also want to expand to make it accessible to all people in San Diego regardless of where they live (perhaps hosting in different locations throughout San Diego). We hope that Daughterhood San Diego will function much like mommy groups who support one another in a fun and inclusive environment through the shared experience of caring for loved ones (not just aging parents – but to include spouses, friends, and family members as well.”
Daughterhood ‘real-life’ hangouts are already expanding, and there will be a Daughterhood San Francisco launching on October 28th. Several other women across the country have expressed interest in starting a Daughterhood chapter in their cities, including a group in northern Virginia. Clearly, the need and desire for a venue where women can discuss the daughterhood experience is both real and universal. Karen and Christine expect that issues such as the effect of caregiving on women’s heath, the toll on emotional wellbeing, and the impact on women’s careers will be addressed in the hangouts. Daughterhood chapters will also offer concrete support such as information about the trusted local resources that can be referred, and ways to balance the experience of daughterhood with a personal life. All the tools that the members develop will be shared and refined within the groups. Family caregivers, homecare companions and anyone who finds themselves in a caregiving role can take advantage of these tools that help families take care of their loved ones.
You can find Daughterhood San Diego on Facebook, where you can join the community, and learn more about what Daughterhood San Diego has to offer.