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Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
Over the next few months you will find me blogging quite a bit about being “On The Road To Spokane, Washington: Why you might ask? In the summer of 2012 I begin a Masters Program in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga, University which is located in Spokane, WA. Now, in the spring of 2016, I am set to graduate! As you know, quite a bit has happened along the road on my way to Spokane.
I was attracted to Gonzaga’s Leadership and Communication program because of my desire to be involved in media. I had started The Purple Jacket the year before I started the program at Gonzaga and was about to start my first radio program, “Be A Healthy Caregiver” on Blog Talk Radio. I ended up with 57 different shows on “Be A Healthy Caregiver” and like, The Purple Jacket, I was happy to share our story through different forms of media. “Be A Healthy Caregiver” went off the air in the fall of 2013 when Richard’s cancer came back with vengeance, however, I continued to blog on “The Purple Jacket” which will always be our home! Heck, along the way The Purple Jacket helped coin Richard’s nick name, “TLO: The Little One!” Amazing, now approaching 2 years since Richard made is life transition, I still get asked about “TLO.” It reminds me of something that I have learned during our course study from media/communication scholar, the late Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is in the message.”
My thesis project will focus on Caregivers, Stress and its economic impact on the workplace. There is an estimated 43.5 million family Caregivers in the United States today and Caregiver stress is an epidemic that is not tracked by the CDC. One of the outcomes of this project will be to demonstrate to the CDC that Caregiver stress is an epidemic that affects both our home and work environments. One of the goals of the research project is to place a dollar figure to the amount of lost wages for the employee and lost income for the employer. Unfortunately, government and businesses often do not take human interest problems seriously until there is a dollar figure attached to the issue.
As I get into the project, I will be using Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, Spiral of Silence Theory quite a bit in the process and will quantify the research with surveys to both family Caregivers and employers: I am excited to get going!
Caregiving has changed my life! While I miss Richard quite a bit, I know through our decision to allow our story to be public, we have helped quite a number of people along the way. I do hope this final project will bring awareness to the issue of the epidemic of Caregivers stress and bring attention to issues that family Caregivers face at work on a daily basis!
My goal during and after thesis project is to create:
- The South Florida Caregiving Coalition, which will focus on Caregiving, Stress and its effects on the workplace. This will be a Non Profit organization.
- The Whole Care Network, which will be a media website where Caregivers can access information from vendor through podcasts, radio show, video chats, blogs.
- My new radio show…Answers 4 Caregivers which will be the feature program of the Whole Care Network. Answers 4 Caregivers will have two feature segments, Healing Ties dedicated to those of us who are now experiencing life after caregiving. Our second feature is simple titled #BOW “Bring On Wellness.” It is important for all of us to be mindful of wellness: physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual. These four pillars are the core components to the Whole Care Network and, what I believe to be, the road to a happy and healthy life!
While On the Road to Spokane, I am thankful for assistance from a number of people who will help compiling the data, most notably Denise Brown from Caregiving.com. Denise has been, without a doubt, the kindest and most helpful Caregiving advocate I have met while on this
road to Spokane. Denise has helped so many Caregivers along the way, and has been a champion on the issue epidemic of Caregivers stress. If you are a family Caregiver, you need to be on Caregiving.com!
This is an exciting time for me as I move from my grief of losing my partner Richard to cancer to, hopefully, helping to make a difference in our Caregiving community. You can join us on the road to Spokane by sharing your caregiving experience on my blog and filling out our survey which will be available in February.
Thanks for traveling this road with me!
Chris MacLellan is the host of “Healing Ties” and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” which is available on Amazon by clicking here!
See our Pulitzer Prize nominated Caregiving story, “In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey by clicking here!
Visit my new website “The Bow Tie Guy” where you can access all of our radio shows by clicking here
I started a Caregiving Blog called “The Purple Jacket” which you can see by clicking here