"Courageous care partners recharge with self-care, striving for peaceful pinnacles
in patience, persistence, and positive 
changes, knowing when to conquer and when to comfort."

“I was working inside a system that was not built for me.”

Jul 12, 2020 by Eileen Adler

“I was working inside a system that was not built for me.” A lot of people can recognize a problem, look at it and complain about it, but not everybody is going to do something about it. Leaders are doers. Even though you don’t think of yourself as a leader, or you’re hesitant or you’re hypnotized by the words saying, ‘You can’t.’ Too bad. Do it anyway,’” spoken by Reese Witherspoon at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast Gala. 

“I was working inside a system that was not built for me,” struck me. As care partners, we may be working inside a system that wasn’t built for us either! Most of us don’t aspire to become care partners. We are unpaid and untrained carers, maybe caring for a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor. There are 43.5 million of us and up to seventy-five percent of care partners are women aged forty-nine to sixty-nine years of age. Some of the tasks included are food shopping
and food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, financial tasks including bill paying, and the administering of medication or a higher level of medical care. We might assist with Activities of Daily Living, known as ADLs including bathing, ambulation, toileting, transferring, eating, and dressing. Some care partners self-select this role while others found it falling into their laps when no one else could do this.

So how do we carve out a system that will work for us?  First and foremost, learn everything you can and ask questions. Then, ditch the guilt. Good enough is good enough but we may need to adjust our expectations because expectation feeds frustration and who needs that? An alarm bell may go off in your head, and you may think, now what? Sounds like annoyance, a natural and common response to long-term care giving. Don’t hold   in your anger or annoyance but rather address it by implementing self-care rituals, for example breathing exercises, to   help   yourself. If you tend to worry, think of worrying this way: worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it   takes away today’s peace. Another aspect of being a care partner is loneliness; it’s just easier to stay home, but in the   long run, this is not a good solution for you or your care   receiver. Get creative with outings and you’ll both receive   untold benefits.  

 Life Lesson: Maintain your goal of being positive, patient, and persistent.


 A little bio on the author of this quote that made me stop and listen. Reese Witherspoon, born in 1976, raised in   Nashville, Tennessee is an American actress winning an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy awards, she is a producer,   entrepreneur, and an author writing Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and   Baking Biscuits in 2018. Time Magazine named her one of the one hundred most influential people in the world in both   2006 and again in 2015. She is a member of the Time’s Up movement, begun in 2018 resulting from the sexual   harassment fallout from the Harvey Weinstein issue and #MeToo.


On Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast Gala, she was awarded the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award. This award is dedicated to fund raising and awareness for cancer research, health, public education, and career opportunities and is named in honor of Sherry Lansing, who throughout her career, demonstrated leadership - she was the epitome of a trailblazer. Lansing expressed her support of Witherspoon, "We all know what an astonishing actress she is. But, equally important, she's been a pioneer and role model for so many others — both women and men — in producing some of the best film and television in recent years, and in her extraordinary philanthropic endeavors, particularly in support of Time's Up and Stand Up to Cancer."