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‘Caregiving is never perfect.’ Lisa Valentine Clark shares lessons from being a caregiver

If you’ve found yourself in a caregiving role, push past the feeling that you’re not doing enough.

To the caregivers – those who take care of aging parents, children with disabilities, or other family members in need – we see you. Host of the Lisa Show Podcast, Lisa Valentine Clark gets you.

Lisa believes we need to have caregiver conversations more often because it affects all of us – especially women, our health, and our finances. The role can come on rather unexpectedly.


Lisa’s journey into caregiving began when her husband was diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative terminal disease, in 2016. “I found myself a caregiver for him. And then most dramatically during the pandemic, when we couldn’t have any outside help, I took care of him. He ultimately passed away in June of 2020 while I had five children at home. It was an intense caregiving situation,” Lisa shared.

During her caregiving experience, Lisa felt like she could never catch up, be enough, or get enough help. Yet, it was transformative and one of her dearest life purposes. “It just highlights the complex nature of a caregiver… and yet it’s hard. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you’re only one person,” Lisa explained.

The Isolation of Caregiving

Caregiving can often feel isolating. “Every day is different, so you are isolated. People look at you differently. They talk to you differently. You hear it in their voice. People avoid you because they don’t want to think about bad things,” Lisa noticed.

The Takeaway for Friends and Support Systems

Lisa’s advice for friends and support systems is simple: “Don’t ever say, ‘Just let me know if there’s anything that I can do for you.’ That’s putting more work on the caregiver to think, ‘If I were just more organized, then I could think of something that they could do.’ Just do it. Just intrude.”

The Struggle with Perfectionism

Perfectionism is something that women are still fighting to push past. Lisa’s message to the woman who feels like she’s not doing a good enough job in the role of caregiver is, “First of all, I would say I’m so sorry because it probably means that you’re in burnout and that you’re overwhelmed and the fact that you’re asking yourself that question means you’re doing a great job.”

The Inevitability of Burnout

Burnout is a term that is frequently and importantly discussed around the topic of caregiving. Lisa believes that burnout depends on the situation and that recognizing the signs in oneself can help manage it.

The Role of Faith in Caregiving

Lisa’s faith played a significant role in her caregiving journey. “I believe in a God who weeps with us and who mourns with us and who’s there with us. I got a deeper understanding of what love is during that whole process,” Lisa shared.

“Caregiving is many things, good and bad, heartbreaking and beautiful, but it is never ever perfect,” Lisa believes. It’s a journey that changes the way we see our fellow brothers and sisters and our life purpose.

As Lisa beautifully puts it, “It is our responsibility to love them better in the ways that they need, not in the ways that we want to give them.”

To learn more about Lisa’s caregiving journey and the conversations she had with hundreds of caregivers, you can review the caregiving series on the Lisa Show podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.

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