My Journey To Becoming A Care Partner
My upbringing taught me that human beings are called to help one another.
Growing up, my sister and I were enriched by parents who deeply valued helping others. My mother was a public health nurse, working to heal the most vulnerable populations. My father was a salesman who balanced his work life with his devotion as a deacon in the church and an active volunteer. Beyond my nuclear family, my aunt was a social worker in the early 50s, quite progressive for the times.
Our family dinners always included laughter, lessons on table manners, a brief crisis over a spill or two and “colorful” stories of my mother’s home visits. Whether it was the poorest rural towns, the inner-city housing projects or the walk-in health clinics, it was sure to include more information than average dinner talk. But for us, it was all just normal lessons in healthcare, social action, client advocacy and reinforcement of our duty to care for others.
I learned at a very early age how to connect with people from all walks of life. Through many volunteer experiences, including delivering food baskets to those who would otherwise go without, I learned to treat difference with curiosity, compassion and respect.
I was inspired to pursue my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work. Working in areas of mental illness, addictions, domestic violence, aging, youth and family therapy, nothing shocked me, much like my childhood dinners.
After living all over NY, I traded in the east coast winters for the Californian sun. My love of adventure led me to accept the offer to partner in a start-up media agency. I easily transitioned my social work skills, while folding in sales life lessons from my father like, “You are only as good as your word.”
Building a business without sacrificing my core values of honesty and integrity provided valuable “real world” experience of private sector struggles, strains and expectations. After a successful tenure, the time had come to reclaim a sense of real meaning in my work. I made the deliberate choice to return to my true calling – helping others.
Starting my private practice, I knew I wanted to work with caregivers of older adults. I truly respect my elders, after all, “they’ve been there and done that,” and now they deserve the best quality of life. But that’s not always easy to provide. When my grandparents were aging, I watched my parents take on care partner roles. My father as a local family caregiver and my mother as a long distance caregiver. I witnessed the stresses, struggles and rewards of caregiving.
Since then, I’ve watched many of my friends and family navigate through these challenging times with little to no caregiver support or resources. I value my family and want to be there for other families too.
Today, I love my work as a care partner, counseling professional and family caregivers. Although supporting one another is a serious responsibility, for me, it has always been paired with kindness, acceptance and humor (laughing is healthy).
I’m passionate, no matter what I do—I’m all in. I’m down to earth and straightforward. I’m not interested in pretense, buzz-words or fad solutions. What I am interested in is authentic human connection. And so, I bring my true self to therapy to help the best way I can.
Outside of work, I enjoy everything with my wife, my partner in all things and a devoted career social worker. I cherish family, close friends and traditions. I love food, enjoy cooking (not the clean-up) and maintain a veggie garden. I have always enjoyed nature and outdoor adventure so moving to Colorado in 2007 proved to be a great fit. I love animals, in the wild and at home. Dogs are great, but until they start taking their own baths and using a litter-pan, our little cat Sofi will continue to enjoy being an only child. Peace and balance are essential to our quiet home life.
I Can’t Wait To Meet You
If you’re interested in learning more about caregiver counseling, long distance caregiver counseling, professional caregiver counseling or my contract services for senior living communities or professional caregiving organizations, please call 303-618-7595 or contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.
Jim Macris is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with caregivers of the aging population. He holds a master’s in social work from Adelphi University, a certificate in behavioral health in aging from Boston University and a bachelor’s of arts in social work from Daemen College. Throughout his career, he has worked with diverse populations in diverse settings. Past positions include, youth and family therapist, recovery therapist, senior home social caseworker and mental health case manager. He was also co-owner and vice president of Nick’s Long Form Media, Inc. Now in his private practice, he provides counseling services to professional and family caregivers of older adults.