Self care is my lifesaver: I’m able to care for him but still have time to myself.
How have you and your family coped with caregiving?
My husband found that gardening really helped ease the pressures of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Once our daughters got involved it became clear that gardening was therapy for all of us and a way to reconnect each day. We all have important jobs to ensure that we grow healthy fruits and vegetables, which then keep us healthy.
What advice would you give to a first time caregiver?
It can feel very isolating, but please know that you are not alone. There are support groups online and in your community. Don’t be afraid to reach out and be willing to help others along the way. It takes a village, but we can do hard things together. You are not alone.
What do you do to relax?
I love to color at night with my daughters and hear about their days. I also love to take pictures of nature with my phone. It slows me down and fills me with gratitude.
Emily's husband, John, suffered from weekly severe migraines, sinusitis, anxiety, night sweats, and other symptoms for eight years before being properly diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and severe PTSD in 2014.
Her goal as a Dole Fellow is to empower caregivers and wounded warriors to lead healthy lives, and to promote the importance of gardening as a source of sustainable healing for the whole family.