Easing the Burdens of Caregivers: Meet @IndianaScott
Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
JOHN: Scott, what brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect and motivates you to take part in the community?
@IndianaScott: My wife was a long-time patient of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as she waged her 14-plus-year war against brain cancer. During this time, she and I not only developed an incredibly special relationship with her physicians at Mayo, but I was also her full-time caregiver. I found caregiving was the toughest job I ever held: no training, no employee manual — just “jump into the deep end and try to swim with the sharks.” The longer I was a caregiver, I also began realizing how intensely isolating caregiving (and chronic illness) can be to patients, caregivers and families. It was this isolation which sent me searching early one morning for some online community open to discussing the realities of caregiving. Quite by accident, I found Connect, and it was the Mayo Clinic brand, which led me to investigate it and brought me into the fold.
JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?
@IndianaScott: At first I registered and just jumped in and began posting and replying to various threads. I found the community to be welcoming, open and nonjudgmental. Also, I discovered it was one of the few online communities where I could talk about what caregiving is really like for the vast majority of regular folks who find themselves thrust into the role of being a caregiver. After a while, I was lucky to be asked if I would consider becoming a volunteer mentor, which I agreed to do. To me, the best part of Connect is we can all be open and honest, and so many can benefit from this community.
JOHN: What groups do you participate in?
@IndianaScott: The Caregivers group is closest to my heart, since it was my idea to see if such a group might be of interest within the Connect community. I also participate in the Brain Tumor; Chronic Pain; Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat; Just Want to Talk; Mental Health; Sleep Health and Visiting Mayo Clinic groups.
JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@IndianaScott: I can’t really identify any specific individual, but I can say, with all my heart, every caregiver who participates and reads the Caregivers posts are very special to me. As I said, caregiving can be incredibly isolating. Add to this the stigma often associated with being a caregiver, difficulties faced by many in their employment and the often seeming impossibility of meeting the daily demands of caregiving, I admire every caregiver who takes a few moments of their precious time to participate in this particular Connect community.
JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@IndianaScott: I would have to say there are two things I admire most about Connect: first is how accepting and nonjudgmental the community is, and second would be how willing the community is to listen to what the unvarnished truth is about many of the struggles people face in their healthcare and caregiving journeys.
JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@IndianaScott: After 14 years of being completely out of balance in my life due to the overloaded lifestyle that is endemic to caregiving, I am still struggling to find balance in this different phase of my life. I am trying to make up for lost time with our children and grandchildren as well as with some good friends of old who stuck with me through the thick and thin of my caregiving years.
JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@IndianaScott: After spending time with family and friends, my current hobby is learning more about the red wines of Napa Valley, California, and developing a family wine cellar centered on them.
JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@IndianaScott: “Wonder Woman and Superman only exist in comic books, so no one can be a superhero in caregiving.”
JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@IndianaScott: I truly and deeply appreciate those very few friends who stuck with me and understood me during my caregiving years.
JOHN: What food can you simply not resist?
@IndianaScott: My wife was 100 percent Italian, and she introduced me to gnocchi, which I absolutely cannot, nor want to, ever resist!
JOHN: Puppies or kittens?
@IndianaScott: Having bred yellow Labrador retrievers for decades, I’m a puppy guy through and through!