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Courageous Caregiver: Joyce’s Journey

Pictured here is Joyce, with two of her rescue animals.

About a year ago, Joyce left a successful career to become the primary caregiver for her adult son.

She felt that she needed more time to support her son, who has autism spectrum disorder, an intellectual disability and mental health issues. In addition to her son’s needs, Joyce’s in-laws were also declining in health, and leaving her career gave her the opportunity to help coordinate their care as well.

Being a primary caregiver can be incredibly challenging, especially since Joyce has faced health concerns of her own. She has battled both cancer and diabetes, while also navigating difficult situations with her son’s care.

“It can be difficult to get the necessary services and supports for my son, because he’s reluctant to seek treatment,” says Joyce. “But I advocate for him and try to secure as much help as I can.”

Joyce joined the Caregiver Club in April 2021, and has been working with social workers Faith Robinson and Patricia Wendy to increase mental health resources and supports for her son.

Joyce’s kind heart doesn’t stop when it comes to others outside her family. In addition to her family caregiving role, Joyce has been working with community organizations to help support other adults with mental health struggles. She provides respite support for a family with an adult son with autism, spending time with him and taking him out for trips and events.

“I really enjoy connecting with and supporting others who are struggling with challenges of their own,” she says. “If you want to reach out to me, you’re welcome to do so through Circle of Care.”

Joyce is also a passionate advocate for animal rights and provides in-home care for dogs and cats, as well as helping find new families for pets in need of re-homing. She’s found it to be a fulfilling experience for the whole family, including her son.

“One of the benefits of having dogs in my home is the emotional attachment that my son develops for our four-legged guests,” says Joyce. “Animals have had a definite therapeutic value for my son’s autistic social challenges, and the dogs have made wonderful companions for the entire family.”

Currently, Joyce and her family care for Cloe, a rescue dog, and fondly remember their late beloved dog, Gracie.

And Joyce remains grateful for all the support that Circle of Care has provided to her, and to her in-laws, who also receive services from our organization. “I’m so appreciative to Circle of Care and all the organizations and individuals who are devoting their efforts to help families navigate our complicated health care system.”

The Courageous Caregivers Recognition Program recognizes and celebrates the outstanding dedication of family caregivers in providing care for their loved ones, and is part of the Caregiver Club program. We recognize the diversity of everyday experiences and celebrate the unique journeys of caregivers. Would you like to nominate a family caregiver? Visit https://caregiver.circleofcare.com/courageous-caregivers/