This past week in our caregiver support group we discussed the role of “fun” in the life of a caregiver. We each bring so many beliefs, expectations and perspectives on caregivers having fun amidst a loved one’s health crisis.

Since most of us are not trained to be caregivers when we inadvertently become one, there are no clear instructions on whether or not it is “okay” to have fun or even if there is a place or purpose for fun in the life of a family caregiver. Not to mention; who has the motivation, energy or initiative to even have fun when in a scary health crisis? Tip, it can be as simple as petting a cute puppy or taking a photo of one being pet by a human.

It was heartwarming to see the group explore their own and one another’s experiences or thoughts on the matter. The parallel process of caregivers giving themselves the benefit of these social connections warmed my heart and gave me hope for each of these families.

Having social connections or lack thereof is one of the main factors that drove me to start my business, so that caregivers of those with eating disorders wouldn’t have to experience the isolation that I did as a family caregiver.

The evidence I see when parents and other family caregivers have the support of a community who relates to their lived experience is profound in helping them to grow and have hope.

The reality is that it can be counterintuitive, guilt inducing, hard and downright tricky to have fun when you’re trying to support a loved one in a health crisis. So when someone suggests the concept of trying to consider adding in fun…well, it can seem like a random, pointless and rude and even disrespectful idea on the surface. Impossible even.

Caregivers find that balancing what is possible and what is necessary is a regular task. It’s not always appropriate or possible to have fun.

And, when caregivers are able to find the time, energy, motivation and other resources needed to have fun, the results can produce ripples like a pebble being dropped into a pool of still water.

Fun can lead to joy and more joy increases resilience. And one thing caregivers need in vast amounts is resilience. For more on joy and resilience, check out these resources at The Resilience Center.

If you or a family caregiver you know of are looking for community support and connection, check out the options at beckyhenry.com and let us know how we might be there for you.