Connecting Caregivers Radio, hosted by Linda Burhans, is a weekly radio show that offers information, support, and connection to resources for caregivers. The show, broadcast from Tampa, Florida, has earned Burhans the title, “The gal who cares for caregivers.”
Or, as Burhans herself recently said on her radio show, she is “the gal who cares for caregivers with love, laughter and lessons learned – because I got a bunch of that stuff.”
That “bunch of stuff” has helped support caregivers for years. Burhans warm personality and natural way of talking to guests makes her a natural for radio. She already is an accomplished author, speaker and caregiver advocate.
On a recent Connecting Caregivers Radio show in which she spoke with Lisa Story, founder of Hope Grows, Burhans said, “The whole purpose of this show is to help caregivers, and to let caregivers know about resources and to let caregivers know that there is a better way.”
Experience as a Caregiver
One of the reasons Linda Burhans is so effective in supporting caregivers is that she has experienced caregiving firsthand. As detailed on her website, Burhans’ mother moved to Florida in 2006. Burhans, a New York native, had lived in Florida since 2000.
Shortly after moving to Florida, doctors diagnosed her mother with stage 4 colon cancer. As later related in her book, “Good Night and God Bless,” Burhans cared for her mother the last 18 months of her life. While dealing with the emotional, rewarding and sometimes frustrating situation, Burhans went through the eye-opening experience of caregiving, including the reality that there is a lack of centralized sources of information or support for caregivers.
Burhans tracked down information she needed on her own. After the death of her mother, she decided to make it a mission to share resources and provide support for caregivers everywhere. In addition to her book and the Connecting Caregivers Radio show, Burhans also has facilitated more than 1,500 support groups, speaking engagements and workshops for caregivers.
On a recent Connecting Caregivers Radio show, Burhans spoke with Story about her founding of Hope Grows and the services the non-profit organization provides caregivers.
Founding of Hope Grows
Story talked to Burhans about her father’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2005, and how that traumatic event led to the founding of Hope Grows. After losing her second parent, Story found herself overcome with grief.
“I was just torn with grief, and I did not know how to evolve from that. I was very angry, very sad, very frustrated,” Story said. “I retreated to nature in a way that I found very healing.”
After having a dream about her father, Story found herself thinking “hope grows” upon waking. She decided to use that as the name of the organization she founded in the Pittsburgh area in 2012.
Since then, Hope Grows has grown into an organization that provides over a dozen different programs for caregivers. Story, a licensed professional professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and a certified thanatologist (thanatology is the study of death and dying), has overseen multiple programs to help caregivers.
THINK Caregiver and Other Services
Story talked about THINK Caregiver, a service in which Hope Grows workers and volunteers contact caregivers with monthly check-in phone calls. Caregivers also can get simple self-care suggestions sent to them weekly. These services are offered to caregivers both in and outside of Pennsylvania. The services are free.
She also spoke of a new caregiver-to-caregiver support service in which former caregivers are matched with current caregivers, providing them support with frequent in-person or phone call meetings.
Hope Grows also offers respite to caregivers with gardens and programs at Hope Grows, including overnight stays starting in summer 2022.
Burhans said Story will be part of an upcoming conference Burhans is facilitating for caregivers.
At the end of the show, Burhans ended it as she always does, telling her listeners: “God loves you all the time, and have a delicious day.”