Caregivers in Alberta have a complex set of needs, and they require support from people who understand them and believe in them. These stories from our clients are a testament to the dedication we all bring to improving conditions for caregivers in the province.
You don’t get it until you’ve lived it...Program Participant
New! Caregiver Spotlight
In the spotlight this week, caregiver Dave Derraugh. A proud dad with the heart of a philosopher, Dave shares his journey as a dedicated father of a daughter with Down syndrome with us. His conclusion? We ALL have special needs, some are just more visible. And, with love, honour, respect and kindness, every one of us can bring our own unique beauty to the world.
Myth-busting the definition of “special” needs
By Dave Derraugh
I’m sharing a story with you that I’ve related to friends a number of times over the years, and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share it with you.
I have been asked a few times in my life, since my special daughter was born, if she has siblings and if they also have “special” needs. One time, I didn’t answer the question immediately and took a minute or two to reflect on it. The silence was powerful. I looked peacefully at the person who asked the question and answered with, “We all have ‘special’ needs.”
More caregiver stories
The life of a caregiver is a challenging yet rewarding journey. Someone who is all too familiar with this is Jackie Katan from Edmonton, Alberta who cares for her husband, Darrell.
At the age of 17, I suddenly lost my mother to leukemia. Being the eldest of four, I took on the role of a mother and a caregiver.
I am a mom who has experienced times of both hope and low hope, throughout my journey caring for my son who had severe brain damage and physical disabilities.
Meaningful words from some of Alberta's caregivers
I grew up with an alcoholic mother and drug addicted father who left when we were young. My older brother was in and out of institutions and abusive to both my younger sister and me. I was my sister’s protector and caregiver.
The ACGA provided me with support with a warm and safe welcome. I did not feel judged. I heard I mattered. I appreciated the stories in the group.
The most important message I heard was that caregiving is an action and we need to act and do for ourselves. We need to Walk the Talk if we truly want results, but be gentle on ourselves, give it time, we are all human.
I don’t remember a time when I was not a caregiver.
I am thankful for the excellent, compassionate work ACGA provides in our communities. You are an anomaly.
Today, I care for my best friend of 31 years, the loving father of our incredible children and the man I married 23 years ago. He just received a diagnosis of epilepsy and requires ongoing emotional support.