Wellness Model: Empowering to Achieve Optimum Wellness
wellness is more than making sure you are physically and emotionally healthy.
In fact, research from the "Caregiver Wellness Survey", a national
survey of family and professional caregivers, suggests that there are at least
nine important and unique characteristics shared by caregivers who provide the
best possible care for themselves while also caring for loved
these components in mind, the "Caregiver Wellness: U Model" is
a conceptual model aimed at empowering you, the caregiver, to take a
strength-based approach to improving your wellness and increasing your capacity
to care for your loved one.
nine components of the "Caregiver Wellness: U Model" include social,
psychological, physical intellectual, spiritual, occupational and
financial wellness, while also incorporating the empowerment and
resilience, or flexibility, necessary for you to take charge of your health on
a holistic basis.
than look at - and achieve - each wellness factor in order, the components are
designed to complement each other and represent a collective whole. In
other words, at the core of this model is the belief that the whole is greater
than the sum of its parts.
addition, caregiver wellness stresses the importance of viewing wellness as an
ongoing process - a work in progress. As a caregiver, your role is likely to
continue to evolve as your loved one's needs change. Therefore, you must
repeatedly re-evaluate your state of wellness, acknowledge your strengths and
keep on working toward the best possible wellness.
What makes the
Caregiver Wellness: U Model different from other models?
are two well-known models that have been applied to caregivers Myer's Wheel of Wellness (a general counseling model)
and Gerlarin's Family Caregiver Wellness
model (a career counseling model). While each model can be useful , neither was
designed specifically to empower caregivers to take action to care for
Caregiver Wellness: U model is focuses on two key components: (a) caregivers
being empowered and (b) being resilient. The model is applicable to caregivers
regardless of the diagnosis of their loved one. The goal of the U Model is to
express the importance translating self-care into actionable steps for
empowered caregivers. Rather than focus on where one is lacking it is important
to first acknowledge what is being done right. Caregivers are thus encouraged
to build upon their strengths and keep working to reach optimal wellness for
themselves and their loved one.
Low-level Wellness: Low-level wellness or distress is almost always synonymous
with crisis situations, care transitions, or induction to caregiving (i.e.,
when you first called to care for a sick or disabled loved one). Although, each
of the pieces to the puzzle is present in the wellness model when the caregiver
is in distress, none of the pieces connect. Low-level wellness or caregiver
distress will likely continue until the caregiver is empowered to reach out for
help with caregiving (help may come from a health care professional, friend, or
family member). There is no set time frame, however, for the caregiver to move
from distress to manageable stress (medium-level wellness); there must workable
solutions, access to information and resources, and intervention strategies
deemed helpful by the caregiver. Low-level wellness is not healthy for the
caregiver or the caregiver's loved one. We hypothesize that the movement from
low-level to medium-level wellness is dependent on the caregiver being
empowered to seek assistance or ask for help.
The movement from low-level wellness
to medium-level wellness is precipitated by the caregiver being empowered to
reach out for and accept assistance and is accompanied by resilience (or the
act of making adjustments). According to the model, once a caregiver reaches
medium-level wellness, the puzzle pieces representing empowerment and
resilience are connected. The now resilient and empowered caregiver takes
self-responsibility, which is evidenced by the actions of making adjustments
and accessing services needed for the benefit of the caregiver and his or her
loved one. It should be noted that the stress that accompanies medium-level
wellness may not be immediately relieved until there is a level of comfort with
interventions and supports accessed by the caregiver. For example, if the home
care agency is not dependable or there is a sudden change in the mental or
physical status of a loved one, a caregiver may return to a stressful situation
until he or she is once again empowered to seek additional assistance and
support. We hypothesize that the movement to medium-level wellness is dependent
on the caregiver being empowered to seek assistance with caregiving and being
resilient in trying new approaches to the caregiving situation.
Optimum-Level Wellness: The term optimum wellness refers to the movement from
medium-level wellness to high wellness. Once adequate supports for a sick or
disabled loved one are in place, the caregiver has the opportunity to move from
stress to optimum wellness by continuing to place emphasis on integrating each
of the components of wellness. It is important to stress that integration to
optimum wellness is a process that will take time; it is not recommended that
the integration occur at once, nor is it likely to. We hypothesize that the
movement to optimum wellness is dependent on the integration of empowerment,
resilience, and reaching a point of stability with physical, social, emotional,
spiritual, intellectual, and fiscal wellness.
optimum-level wellness is a process that will take time; it is not recommended
that the integration occur at once, nor is it likely to. The best
strategy is to place continuing emphasis on putting together all of the pieces
until the puzzle is complete.
Take a Look at 'U'