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Life Coach Asha Tarry Launches Tailored Wellness Caregiver Program

While caregiving is a noble calling, it is rapidly emerging as a public health concern, according to the CDC. People are living longer, and the percentage of individuals who help out an aging friend or family member has increased to 22.3% in recent years. Nearly a third of these caregivers put in 20 or more hours per week, and more than half have been doing it for over two years. 

With over 20 years of professional and personal experience in the field, Asha Tarry launched Care for Caregivers, a much-needed online space to support the growing number of people caring for others.

How Asha Tarry finds a passion for caregivers

After gaining experience as a social worker, Tarry blazed a trail as one of the first women of color to use social media to talk about mental illness. She was also an early adopter of social media as a tool for life coaching and psychotherapy. In the early 2010s, she harnessed the growing power of short online video clips to draw connections between popular culture and the everyday mental health challenges faced by millions.

“I used social media to leverage my online community and bring awareness to mental health,” Tarry recalls. “This decision positioned me as an early voice in drawing parallels between celebrity mental health and the struggles faced by millions of regular people.”

Throughout her decades in healthcare, Tarry has always been involved in caregiving. As a social worker, she first worked with medical personnel to evaluate the mental health of homebound patients. She traveled between various communities of people from young and disabled adults to people with chronic medical and mental health conditions.

However, caregiving only infiltrated Tarry’s personal life when her 80-year-old aunt suffered a severe stroke. This was the first step in her arduous journey as a triple caregiver.

“Even in my wildest dreams, I never pictured myself as a caregiver,” remembers Tarry. “I was visiting dozens of families in this situation, but the idea that I would be caring for a relative never once occurred to me.”

Because Tarry was her Aunt’s nearest family member, she was thrust into the sudden position of having to make difficult and personal medical decisions. “Doctors asked me whether I wanted my Aunt to receive surgery or rehab,” she says. “I was the one who arranged for long-term care when she was unable to live at home on her own.”

Shortly after her aunt’s stroke, the health of Tarry’s father deteriorated as well. Over the course of four years, she commuted between New York and New Jersey to care for her aunt, check her mail, speak with medical staff, and even sell her aunt’s home. Meanwhile, she made frequent trips to Maryland to relieve her mother of some of her caregiving responsibilities.

Only days separated the deaths of Tarry’s aunt and father. The news of her father’s death reached her as she entered the funeral home to lay her aunt to rest.

Dementia symptoms manifested in Tarry’s mother within a year. As a caretaker once again, Tarry oversaw her mother’s increasing needs at the same time she was growing her business and expanding her reach while relocating and traveling to provide care to multiple people. Some days of the week, she worked while coordinating service providers, while others she visited her mother in person.

Tarry’s life would never be the same after her three-time caregiving experience. “While my role as a social worker allowed me to sympathize with my clients, I never really grasped the gravity of providing constant assistance for a loved one,” she explains. “The role of a caregiver is life-altering. My experience has made me not only a better coach but also a much more present person. Now more than ever, I can read my clients’ emotional cues and anticipate their needs.”

Asha Tarry launches the all-new online program called Care for Caregivers

Today, Tarry is on a mission to support the growing number of people caring for loved ones with dementia, depression, and other mental illnesses. Her online community, Care for Caregivers, provides practical support in three primary ways.

The program first enables participants to cope with the mental and emotional challenges of caregiving by providing monthly 90-minute group therapy sessions. These meetings offer a secure environment where caregivers can work through the emotional wounds uncovered by the unexpected inner turmoil stirred up by the role. Together, they work through feelings of frustration, resentment, and despair as they offer care for loved ones with deteriorating conditions.

“Everyone contributes to the group by opening up about their experiences as caregivers,” Tarry notes. “As the facilitator, I pick out themes that can empower each member to identify and train participants to focus on their inner world and their mental, physical, and emotional responses to caregiving. I also train clients on legacy plans so they don’t necessarily have to recreate income or wealth after caregiving ends, and provide accountability partnerships for participants who may be at the beginning, middle, or end of caregiving — all of which centers on their well-being.”

Care for Caregivers also offers advocacy templates that help family members participate in discussions with healthcare providers and voice their needs. Tarry drew from her decades of caregiving experience to develop highly specific templates, each offering practical aid in one area of the healthcare and mental health sectors.

In addition, Tarry uses her background in social media education to create short, action-oriented video content to guide caregivers on a variety of topics between the monthly sessions. The growing library includes resources on mental health, wellness practices, and methods for healing emotional trauma.

Finally, Care for Caregivers provides each participant with actionable strategies to improve their mental well-being. Members leave each session with a goal-oriented plan customized to address their most pressing needs and make them feel less overwhelmed. When the group reconvenes, they review those strategies and make revisions for the next month.

“This program empowers group members by planning for needs and offering resources before caregivers burn out or become overwhelmed,” concludes Tarry. “So many caregivers put their own needs on the back burner. We remind them that they offer the best care when they learn to care for themselves, step back from their mountain of responsibility, and tackle one problem at a time.”

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