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  • Writer's pictureNicole Will

The Unseen: Spousal Caregiving with Allison Breininger

Natalie Elliott Handy confessions of a reluctant caregiver

The Unseen: Spousal Caregiving with Allison Breininger, Founder of The Negative Space & Caregiver

Allison Breininger became a caregiver for her husband, Sean, during his battle with a rare genetic disease. Through her experiences and the founding of The Negative Space, she has become a voice for those who often go unheard, providing a platform to discuss, support, and empower caregivers.

Today, we talk about the unique challenges spousal caregivers face, the importance of community support, and how society can better acknowledge and assist these vital yet often invisible pillars of strength. We talk through some hard-hitting questions: How does one navigate the emotional landscape of caring for a spouse? What misconceptions about self-care and support do caregivers encounter? How can friends and family offer meaningful help?

Allison will share her insights, shedding light on the reality of caregiving, offering advice, and discussing how her organization, The Negative Space, is paving the way for a future where caregivers receive the recognition and support they deserve. Join us as Allison shares about the strength and love at the heart of caregiving. Thank you, Allison!

Listen to our episode HERE.

Don't miss Allison's podcast In Sickness- Listen HERE.

Check out more of Allison's story on KARE 11 HERE.

About Allison Breininger

Allison Breininger has a MA in Education and spent twenty years teaching, training, directing, coaching, and creating content in the realm of education. At 31, she became a caregiver for her husband, Sean, when he was diagnosed with the rare genetic disease Fanconi Anemia. In the eleven years since, she has been by his side through a bone marrow transplant and cancer of the tongue, throat, gums, bladder, and skin. In those years, she has experienced firsthand that caregivers are in the negative space: vital yet overlooked and unsupported. Fueled by what she has seen, Allison founded the non-profit The Negative Space as a way to use her experience and skills to change the way caregivers are seen and supported. 

Through The Negative Space, Allison shines light on the realities of caregiving, provides direct services to caregivers and educates and equips those who support them with concrete tools and strategies. She co-hosts the In Sickness podcast, provides individual coaching to caregivers nationwide, facilitates support groups and education sessions, partners with multiple organizations to more intentionally support caregivers, and sells caregiver gift boxes. 

She and her husband, Sean, live in St. Paul, Minnesota with their teenage daughter, Bedeline.

Today, we'll explore her latest book, "Honest Aging: An Insider’s Guide to the Second Half of Life," published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. The book is a candid look at what aging really involves—physically, psychologically, functionally, and emotionally—and how to adapt to these changes.

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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Nicole Will is our host and founder of willGather.

*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!

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