The Caregiver's Friend
Updated: May 6
By Jammie Johnson
Jammie Johnson is an academic advisor, motivational speaker, and certified caregiver facilitator. Jammie was a caregiver to her parents and an aunt. After her mother’s passing, she founded The Caregiver's Friend, where she provides resources, tips and strategies to help caregivers navigate their care journey with peace. Jammie was recently appointed to the Wyandotte/Leavenworth Area Wide Advisory Council on Aging.
“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” Rosalyn Carter
Hi, I’m Jammie, The Caregiver’s Friend. Many have asked, “How did you get here?” I have
always had a great love for family and knew as an only child that I would need to care for my
parents later in life. While most teen girls were writing love stories in their diaries, I was drawing sketches of my future home in a notebook - and I am not an artist - which included a second level for my parents. As God would have it, things didn’t turn out exactly as I envisioned, but I was still blessed to care for my parents. Over a 20 year period, I provided care for my dad who passed away from cancer in 1997, my aunt who passed away from complications from obesity in 2015, and my mother who had a myriad of conditions with her lungs and heart; she passed away in 2017. Caring for them brought about challenges, but it was so rewarding.
After my mother passed away, I was in a new season. Everyone that I had come to Kansas with was gone. I was alone and not sure what my next steps were. After much prayer, God gave me a plan to help family caregivers by sharing my experience and being a resource and advocate for them. However, like most of us, I wanted confirmation. Within three days, three people contacted me about different issues relating to caregiving, which included palliative care, estate planning, and wills. So I launched The Caregiver’s Friend to help caregivers develop a plan for success and to maintain their peace of mind while helping others.
There are approximately 53 million caregivers in the United States; 1 in 4 women are caregivers and 25% are Black. We experience higher burdens from caregiving, spend more
time caregiving and provide more help than any other group. That’s who we are and that’s what we do! I learned throughout my care journey that while I was being stretched, overwhelmed, tired and often frustrated that my loved ones were the ones in the most difficult place. That they were the ones being challenged the most. Parents act as our protectors and providers until there is a shift (old age, health, etc.) and they have to depend on us. Parents never want to be a burden to their children or to be in a place of vulnerability having to rely on others for everything they need. But, it’s so important that we in the Black community continue to provide the necessary care to our loved ones and balance is key. Research shows that approximately 30% of caregivers die before the ones they provide care for. So, it is imperative that if you are a caregiver, you take care of yourself in order to take care of others. The Caregiver’s Friend is here to help you find balance and maintain peace on your caregiving journey. I encourage caregivers to:
1. Be flexible. Plans change daily and change is never convenient. Make the adjustment
and keep it moving.
2. Use your resources. There are numerous resources available, but often exhaustion eats
up our time to do research. The Caregiver’s Friend would love to help so caregivers can reset and find peace.
3. Commit to self-care. Self-care is priority number one. You cannot care for your loved one, if you don’t care for yourself. Being fully present, rested and hopeful will give you needed
strength for the journey.
4. Build a tribe. You do not have to be the lone ranger. You’d be surprised who would be
willing, if only you would ask.
I welcome the opportunity to keep you encouraged and to be a resource as you navigate your caregiving journey. Connect on Facebook in our private group, The Caregiver Crew, on
the first Tuesday of each month in our Virtual Caregiver Support Group, or for 1:1 Coaching.