A child is born with a disability, a teenager wraps a car around a lamppost, or a parent suffers a stroke - and a family member instantly becomes a caregiver for life.
The adjustment is often difficult, with the caregiver dedicating most of their time to the person in need. And, from Ruth Clark's experience, it can be a lonely and isolating time.
"Who's got your back? Who's giving you a hug?" Clark asked.
Clark spent 25 years caring for her mother, moving from Vancouver to Kamloops and leaving behind a job at a library, she said Wednesday.
When her mother died 11 years ago, Clark not only found herself without her last surviving parent, but with no purpose in life. What she would have liked was someone to turn to.
Which is why Clark is hosting a conversation about caregiving at the Smorgasbord Deli at 225 Seventh Ave. on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The event, which is free, will serve many purposes; Clark hopes it will give people an understanding shoulder to cry on or provide them the opportunity to discuss their busy days as caregivers.
"We've all been there or are heading there," she said.
A former active-wear clothing designer, Clark also wants to develop clothing and accessories that will make life easier for the caregiver and person being cared for.
This could be a pair of pants with openings that make it easier to apply a catheter or shunt, she said.
Clark is networking with designers worldwide and hopes to launch a line of adaptive clothing and accompanying textiles, she said. She has her own ideas based on personal experience, but wants to hear what other caregivers think.
For more information phone Clark at 250-314-1849 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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