Embracing a new role

Welcome to the Keeping it REAL Caregiving Newsletter and thanks for joining the tribe!

If you missed our debut article, not to worry because we are going to make sure we start this journey from the beginning delivering you some of the basics.

The goal of Keeping it REAL Caregiving, or KIRC, is to educate, raise awareness and move towards increased advocacy for family caregivers.

You are invited to add your voice to the growing chorus of those who want to receive more news and information from the world of caregiving and those who need guidance and support.

We strive to deliver you practical information and tools you can use. BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter to stay up to date.

The information KIRC delivers will be slightly different than what you have perhaps seen elsewhere. And that’s because it is not necessarily coming at you from administrators or ‘officials’ (which can be valuable in the right context) but this newsletter is by and for those who have been or ARE family caregivers. And that includes your correspondent and creator, Julia Yarbough.

I’m a broadcast journalist by trade and spent the last 20 years as the primary family caregiver for my elderly mother, Nellie.

Nellie Yarbough – 2016

When I think back to what I knew when I started my caregiving journey and then consider how much information I had collected by the time I said goodbye to my mother… well, let’s just say… ‘I got skills…’

Issues surrounding hands-on care, insurance, medical treatments, research, finances and yes, even psychology – are all now part of my knowledge base. That is the information I want to share with all of you.

For instance, much of the last five years of taking care of my mother were filled with what I call the “heavy-lifting” duties, including care activities such as:

  • Bathing

  • Dressing

  • Transferring

  • Eating

  • Toileting

How often do any of us think about any of these items? I mean… we just take it for granted that we will bathe, get dressed and eat. But, not so simple for everyone.

These actions are known as ADL’s or ‘activities of daily living.’ In future articles, we’ll get more into what that terminology means, which agencies use it and why you need to understand the weight of those descriptions.

Prior to 2016 my mother was no doubt aging and declining but she could still manage — more or less — on her own but with some assistance.

Sadly, Nellie P. Yarbough passed away in September 2020 at age 90. That’s not a bad run for an individual who suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease and whom experienced a heart attack in 2017.

I’m sharing this background to offer a bit of perspective on my personal caregiving journey.

The Keeping it REAL Caregiving newsletter is a way for me to use my journalism talents to help Miss Nellie live on in a way that is beneficial to others.

Let’s start with a little quiz.

  1. How many of you are currently family caregivers?

  2. How many of you aren’t quite sure whether you are a caregiver?

  3. And who is about to close their browser on this page because you are not a caregiver and don’t believe you will ever be one, therefore this article is a waste of your time?

Seriously, I want to hear from you about your answers and learn more from you about what topics and information you would like to see here.

Email me at: [email protected] and SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter so we can easily stay connected. Also be sure to follow me on Instagram @Julia.Yarbough.

There is so much to unpack, but we’re going to take this journey together! I’m excited and I hope you are as well!