November is National Family Caregiver Month, a time to recognize and honor the unsung heroes who selflessly devote themselves to the care of their loved ones. In this spirit, we sat down with Alison Hajj, Aidaly’s very own Head of Administration and a remarkable individual whose life has been profoundly shaped by the role of a family caregiver.
Ali's journey began early, as she witnessed her mother navigate the challenges of caring for her grandfather, aunt with MS, and father recovering from a stroke. In 2018, after her father's passing, Ali's own caregiving journey unfolded when her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer in April 2021.
On Challenges and Life Impact
The responsibilities of being a family caregiver quickly piled up for Ali. Juggling a full-time job as a COO, a wife, and mother of three, she faced the daunting task of finding balance. "I felt like there wasn't enough of me to go around," she shares. Yet, amidst the challenges, Ali found strength in her relationships, particularly with her supportive husband, who became her rock during this trying period.
On True Self-Care
True self-care, for Ali, goes beyond the conventional notions of relaxation, like yoga and scented candles. True self-care is re-centering yourself as a priority; "It's okay to be selfish," she emphasizes. Taking moments to disconnect and be present with oneself became crucial for her well-being. Acknowledging imperfections and relying on the power of love were lessons that proved invaluable in her caregiving journey.
Advice & Advocacy for Family Caregivers
Ali learned that embracing imperfection is a vital skill for caregivers. On days when it felt overwhelming, she leaned on love, recognizing its transformative impact.
After her mother's passing, Ali found solace and understanding in a hospice support group. It served as a safe space to process emotions and share experiences with others going through similar situations. Her advice to new family caregivers is grounded in wisdom: "Take it one day at a time, and it's okay to ask for help. Asking for help shows true strength, not weakness."
Words of Encouragement for Fellow Caregivers
As our conversation concludes, Ali leaves us with words of encouragement and inspiration. "Being a caregiver is a gift," she reflects. Despite the challenges, she wouldn't trade those precious moments caring for her mother. Today, she continues her caregiving journey with her brother, fostering a relationship built on love and trust. Ali's story reminds us that, in the end, there is no greater act of love than being there for a family member in need.
See more: 30 Heartfelt Ways to Thank Your Family Caregiver during National Family Caregiver Month
National Family Caregiver Month is an opportunity to celebrate individuals like Ali Hajj, whose resilience, love, and strength illuminate the often-unseen world of family caregiving.