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ShareTheCaregiving: a program of the National Center for Civic Innovation

Caregivers & Concerned Friends

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Getting Started

No matter what the circumstance – STC can make a difference. The model supports, not just the care recipient, but also the primary caregiver as well as their entire family.

And if the person needing support has no family nearby their STC group becomes their “family.”

Bringing everyone together for a first group meeting is a job for two committed friends who will work with the caregiver and care recipient to figure out who to invite and what kind of help will be needed. STC provides guidance for them every step of the way.

STC helps people of all ages who have a disability, or are suffering from a temporary, serious, or terminal illness, or are recuperating from surgery, an accident, or combat.

STC supports the elderly in need of assistance so they can avoid isolation and depression while they age in place.

Groups have provided extra loving care for quadruplets, triplets, preemies, or to support moms with little children through a difficult pregnancy.  They have sustained widow(ers) with small children, as well as a grandparents raising grandkids.

For a working caregiver STC can provide peace of mind. Knowing that their loved one has home support, or someone checking on them and available to provide assistance in the case of an emergency.

The STC model works for any issue that requires teamwork. Just use your imagination.

How to form an STC Group

As described in the video interview, the STC model came into being through the personal experiences of the authors and 10 other women who wanted to “be there” for their mutual friend–a divorced working mom with two teens and a diagnosis of a rare cancer. While they cared for her over a period of nearly four years, they developed a unique system of caregiving as well as deep friendships that last to this day.  (Click here to read How STC Was Born)

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have used STC successfully and reported it to be a “life changing” experience.


First Step

Acceptance: The first step is agreeing to allow others to help.  One cannot take this step for granted.  It is an emotional decision that may require a bit of time and patience to reach.  However, if there is a crisis, there may not be the luxury of time.  Having a plan like STC is critical

Often we see caregivers and/or care recipients who are reluctant or resistant to accepting support even though it makes a lot of sense.  It may help the care recipient to realize that their group will most certainly gain something personally from the experience.

Why a STC group makes sense:

the caregiver:

• is overwhelmed and the stress is affecting his or her health
• needs to go back to work or school
• won’t have to continually “ask for help”
• can find support for the whole family while caring for their loved one who is ill

the care recipient:

• has an illness that will progress and require increasing amounts of care
• can experience a better quality of life through the support of others who care
• can enjoy better quality time with family
• with no family nearby, benefits by having a “created family”

the individual group participant:

• may never have been a caregiver.  He or she can learn how in the company of veteran caregivers in the group
• might discover purpose or a new perspective on life during the experience
• can become aware of strengths and resources within each of them that they never knew existed
• learns firsthand what a group is capable of achieving