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  • Writer's pictureNicole Will

Caring for the One You Love: The Multifaceted Role of Spousal Caregivers

Natalie Elliott Handy confessions of a reluctant caregiver

Caring for the One You Love: The Multifaceted Role of Spousal Caregivers with Natalie Elliott Handy, MSW, Healthcare Executive & Host of Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver Podcast

Resilience, hope, and transformation. For almost a year, Natalie Elliott Handy's husband, Jason, had been experiencing swollen lymph nodes in his neck, and after numerous doctor visits and biopsies, he was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma P16+.

The coming months would be filled with doctor visits, scans, and biopsies, and ultimately, they found hope at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Natalie and her husband decided to participate in a clinical trial that would cut the treatment protocols in half, and although the journey was challenging, the treatment proved successful. However, the cost of the cure was high.

Natalie shares how the caregiving journey changed her relationship with her husband and how she transitioned from a wife to a caregiver. She learned that being a caregiver is not just about performing tasks, but rather comprised of almost 40 different roles. She shares how the journey also pushed her to reprioritize her life.

We explore the importance of being present and an advocate during caregiving, including the need for continuity of care and updates to loved ones. We also discuss the often overlooked side effect of caregiving - how it changes relationships and leads to complicated emotions and grief. Natalie shares her experience of transitioning from being a wife to a caregiver and taking on different roles. This experience led her and her sisters to create a podcast based on their caregiving journey.

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing so honestly your story of resilience and hope - encouraging us to embrace the journey, find the good moments in every day, and live a joy-filled life.

Listen to our episode HERE.

Natalie shares about:

  • Discovering her husband, Jason had been diagnosed with cancer

  • How they found hope at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where they participated in a clinical trial that halved Jason's treatment protocols

  • The cost of the cure was high, as it had a severe impact on Jason's body, their relationship, and their lives

  • Being a caregiver never really ends. Even with a clear diagnosis, the side effects and continued visits are part of our daily life

  • Importance of being present and an advocate

  • Continuity of care and recommendations for providing updates to loved ones

  • The side effect no one talks about - how caregiving changes relationships

  • Complicated emotions of caregiver grief, changes and new normal- the walls we put up from trauma and fear

  • How her experience was transitioning from being a wife to being a caregiver, which involved taking on different roles

  • How the caregiving experience brought Natalie and her sister to create a podcast based on their caregiving experience

  • The ways we can embrace the journey, find the good moments in every day, and live a joy-filled life

Natalie's Spotify Playlist HERE.

About Natalie Elliott Handy & Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver

Natalie Elliott Handy, MSW, is a seasoned healthcare executive with 24+ years in the health and human services industry. Natalie joined the Health Connect America team in January 2023 where she serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs and Advocacy. Prior to coming to HCA, Natalie served as CEO of Intercept Health.

A servant at heart, Natalie takes pride in being seen as a mental health concierge, helping families and agencies navigate the system to find the most appropriate service. She believes in the power of advocacy, using her voice and position to bring macro level change on the local, state, and federal levels, serving on committees, task forces, planning groups, associations, and boards. In August 2022, she was honored to be appointed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to serve on the State Executive Council for Children’s Services. Natalie has a passion for training, offering education and information to positively impact others, both internally and to the community at large.

Originally from outside Knoxville, TN, Natalie currently lives in Roanoke, Virginia with her husband Jason and fur children, Winston the Bulldog and Daisy the Beagle. When Natalie’s not working or spending time with Jason, Winston, or Daisy, you’ll find her collaborating with her sisters on their podcast, Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver. Natalie, alongside sisters JJ Elliott-Hill and Emilie Elliott, founded the Sisterhood of Care, an organization offering caregivers a safe place to relate, learn, be inspired, find hope, and obtain the critical resources needed to support their loved one while also maintaining their sense of self. Caregivers themselves, their passion project is intended to offer support, resources, and information to caregivers and the community via their podcast, website, and social media sites.

*This episode is brought to you by Gigi Betty co. A boutique gift shop raising awareness and funds for caregivers and care partners. Show now at Use the special code WILLGATHER20 for 20% off your order- Just for our podcast listeners!

LISTEN NOW: Apple Podcasts, Spotify & on your favorite podcast platform.

We are not medical professionals and are not providing any medical advice. If you have any medical questions, we recommend that you talk with a medical professional of your choice. willGather has taken care in selecting its speakers but the opinions of our speakers are theirs alone. Thank you for your continued interest in our podcasts.

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