Chronic Conversations

E3: Caregiving with Shirley Riga

Episode Summary

An episode dedicated to shining a light on an often overlooked group within the chronic illness community: the caregivers. Join me as I talk with Shirley Riga, author of "Tools for the Exceptional Parent of the Chronically Ill Child" and a caregiver herself for over 30 years. Our conversation focuses heavily on Shirley’s story and her personal experience as a caregiver as she shares how her daughter’s illnesses impacted her functioning growing up and how Shirley's role as a caregiver subsequently evolved as a result. We also speak about her ensuing struggles with trauma and anxiety and how she learned the value of self-care. This is followed by a discussion about chronic sorrow and the importance of acceptance vs. denial. And Shirley shares a wide variety of tools she has cultivated over the years to deal with the stress of caring for someone with a chronic illness, from journaling to meditation, providing listeners the chance to bolster their own toolkit and learn to thrive while living with a loved one’s chronic illness.