For members who are care partners, spouses, families and friends who are providing primary care to a loved one with cancer.
Finding Sanctuary uses group discussion to address the experience of being a caregiver. Because of the intimate nature of attending to a person who is ill, we are drawn deeper into the relationship, leading us into new territory. This is often experienced as fatigue (because it is hard work) and can lead to burn-out if we do not recognize our own needs in the process. Finding Sanctuary is an opportunity to acknowledge our experience of caregiving and to develop strategies for balancing our lives so we factor ourselves and our needs into the caring relationship.
“I have learned beneficial self care practices. In order to be a good caregiver, I must also care for myself.”
“This program helped me tune into myself and give myself a much needed break!”
Benefits and Impact
Members experience an open, non-judgmental and inviting atmosphere in which to discuss the benefits and challenges of caregiving. With as much candor as they choose, they are invited to exchange experiences and strategies in order to adjust to new roles and learn the importance of self-care. Recent literature has identified that caregivers of people living with cancer may be faced with numerous challenges and burdens, such as financial difficulty, emotional distress, and social isolation (Molassiotis & Wang, 2022). Wellspring Alberta offers the program Finding Sanctuary: Caregiving Support to support the unique needs of caregivers and facilitate peer-to-peer interactions through an informal support group. Research studying the effects of psychosocial interventions that provide social connectedness and informational support, such as this program, have found improvements in anxiety, self-efficacy, depressive symptoms and quality of life for caregivers when offered both in person (Molassiotis & Wang, 2022; Kedia et al., 2020; Yuen & Wilson, 2022) and virtually (Tang et al., 2014).
What to Expect at a Session
The facilitator begins by presenting material on a theme chosen as a guide for conversation. As the evenings unfold, members are invited to direct the conversation to other pertinent topics. The facilitator’s role is to offer insight and guidance, and to honour all contributions. Members are encouraged to participate as much or as little as they wish.