Nurturing The Nurturer With Caregiver Day

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on May 29, 2015 # Caregiving

Shortly after Christopher Reeve was injured, his wife, Dana spoke about the challenges and stress inherent to caregiving in an interview with Gary Barg.She explained, “you can deal with stress in little ways, you can give yourself little getaways, and it doesn’t always have to cost money. It’s really a gift you have to give yourself: mini respites.”

Many years later, this strategy is more important than ever for today’s caregivers. Dana’s vision for “nurturing the nurturer” is the legacy the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation continues to facilitate in 2015 with a series of Caregiver Days at Abilities Expos across the nation.

Each Caregiver Day functions as a mini-retreat featuring three speakers who have professional experience designing daily stress relief activities, which can be done anywhere in as little as a few minutes. The speakers also have a personal connection to caregiving, tailoring their strategies to the unique needs of the community. Yosaif August provides guided practice for gently responding to offers of advice as well as reaching out to share caregiving responsibilities. Jay and Terry Gupta create a calming atmosphere with “yoga capsules”, mild chair exercises that are meditative for caregivers as well as their loved ones. Regina Rosenthal rounds out the session with practical self-care tips and tools for using acupressure to release stress from our bodies.

Over 30 audience members participated in the first Caregiver Day at Abilities MetroNY on May 2, 2015. The tone of the day was uplifting, with each participant experiencing the immediate effects of practical advice from Mr. August, the Guptas, and Ms. Rosenthal. The caregivers and individuals living with paralysis who attended also benefited from having a space to network with each other, sharing lessons learned from individual experiences. The intangible gift of empowering communication extends well beyond the sessions with tangible giveaways that provide more insight.

Audience members who attend one or all sessions receive books authored by Mr. August and Ms. Rosenthal and a guided CD featuring additional yoga capsules from Jay and Terry Gupta. The Kennedy Krieger Institute also provided gift bags stocked with educational materials and snacks to all in attendance. For those that were not able to join us in May, there are five more opportunities in the coming months to learn about and practice the gift of a “mini-respite”.

We are proud to continue the Caregiver Day sessions at the following Abilities Expo events. Presentations are free to attend, however registration for each Abilities Expo is required.

Chicago (June 14)

Renaissance Schaumberg Convention Center

Register here.

Houston (August 2)

NRG Center, Hall E

Register here.

Boston (September 20)

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Hall C

Register here.

DC Metro Area (December 6)

Dulles Expo Center

Register here.

Los Angeles (February 7)

Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall A

Register here.

Note: All sessions at upcoming expos will take place on the final day of the event (Sunday) and start at 11:45 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm.

The Paralysis Resource Center has additional caregiver information online.

Information Specialists are available to help navigate additional resources. They are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.