top of page
icon Star blue.png

Isabella Puddu Blog

Thoughts of a coach

The Caregiver's Journey

A caregiver is a person who voluntarily and gratuitously cares for a person, often a family member, partner or friend, who is unable to take care of themselves. For many caregivers, being present in helping is a life mission and a core value.

I recently discovered, through my training in Caregiver Coaching, that the world of caregivers is all uphill: more than 100 million people in Europe care for a relative and this number is set to increase.

In 2018, caregivers in Italy exceeded 12 million according to an Istat survey, but it is estimated that there are many more. They are mostly women, aged between 45 and 55 and who often also work outside the home but there are also young people, 169,000, between the ages of 15 and 16 divided between school and work.

Anyone can be a caregiver and many do not even realize it; becoming a caregiver is a sudden process for some and a gradual one for others.

Very often the physical and emotional impact of caregiving is underestimated because the caregiver has no recognized status in our culture and is often invisible in the eyes of others. Unfortunately there is very little support in the healthcare system for this figure, who is constantly searching for a life balance that is difficult to find.

Caregivers have a higher stress level because they are always on duty and available. Imagine for a moment to add, on top of everything else you do, such a task and the level of responsibility that comes with it.

Long-term stress leads to fatigue, isolation, lack of sleep, irritability, physical problems, anxiety and depression.

But who cares for caregivers?

Caregiver Coaching was created to give a voice to these clients, special and unique people, by listening to their stories and perspectives.

There are many different situations, paths and stages in the caregiver world, and perhaps you might find yourself in one of them.

Denise M. Brown, founder of "Caregiving Years training Academy," has developed a model, "6 stages to a meaningful journey" to describe the various stages of the caregiver's journey:

The expectant caregiver, who is waiting for the time when he or she will have to help a family member or friend; the freshman caregiver, who is just beginning to care and experience this world; the entrenched caregiver, who has had a role and responsibilities for some time and needs to adopt a routine; the pragmatic caregiver, who has been caring for some time and knows his or her role well; the transitioning caregiver, whose purpose has changed from doing to being and finally the Godspeed caregiver whose role has ended.

It is evident how each phase is related to the other, nonlinear, and how the caregivers may suddenly find themselves in a new situation. In order to cope with this unique experience it is necessary to develop skills, both at the level of "doing" and "being", precisely because no one, in this very special experience, remains immune at an emotional level.

Therefore, I invite my caregiver clients to look at the reasons why they are caregivers, at their belief system and their personal history. We touch issues such as communication between caregiver/caretaker and all those figures around them like health professionals.

Remember also that the caregiver's journey is subjected to crisis management which is always unexpected and can put a strain on daily life.

Do not feel alone.

Each caregivers’ needs are different and it is essential to ask for help; the first step is to acknowledge fears, feelings of fatigue and sometimes misunderstanding by others.

Let us try, each in our own way, to respect and support this crucial figure because...

"There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers."

Rosalynn Carter


bottom of page