In honor of National Family Caregivers Month in November, the Social Health Network hosted a panel to hear from community members Richard Faust, Auldyn Matthews, and Frances McInerney about their experiences caring for loved ones. If you are a health leader who has been a caregiver, or you’re currently caring for a loved one, we encourage you to check out this panel.
Advocacy is one of the most important aspects of being a caregiver. In this panel, the panelists dive into topics around self-care, advocating for their loved ones’ medicines and treatment, the research involved as a caregiver, and more. Auldyn and Frances add their unique perspectives about what it’s like to be a “young” caregiver and having to sacrifice certain aspects of their lives in order to care for their loved one. Whether you’re caring for a spouse, parent, or loved one, these panelists cover topics relevant to your journey.
About the panelists
In addition to being part of the team of ProstateCancer.net contributors, Richard is also a moderator for the site. His father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the spring of 2019.
Richard is a senior cross-site moderator for Health Union (the parent company of ProstateCancer.net) as well as an accomplished communications specialist, writer, and researcher in health, science and technology, and policy. He was introduced to Health Union by his wife, Kelly Mack, who has juvenile idiopathic arthritis and is a contributor on RheumatoidArthritis.net.
Auldyn is the caregiver of her husband, Keegan, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2014. Auldyn has always known Keegan with pain, even when they started dating over 10 years ago. Over the years they have navigated doctors, surgeries, and treatments to define a new normal for their family.
After the birth of their daughter in 2018, Keegan was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in both hips from his AS and received a double hip replacement. Throughout her time as a caregiver, Auldyn has researched tons about AS, osteoarthritis in young patients, and pain management to support Keegan in his disease.
As a primary caregiver for her father, John, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2017, Frances works in tandem with her mother to navigate the ups and downs of this disease. During her experience living with and caring for her dad, Frances has been able to use her expertise as a speech-language pathologist to facilitate verbal and nonverbal communication, promote interpersonal relationships, and support his independence with daily living skills.
Frances’s passion for advocating for individuals with neurological impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease, paired with her extensive experience with speech and language intervention, gives a unique perspective to the panel.