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Reframing FOMO: What to Do When Family Caregivers Feel Left Out of Life

April 15, 2024

Q&A with Aisha Adkins, MPA, CNP

Caring for an aging or ailing family member, while rewarding at times, may mean sacrificing social interactions or missing milestones. With social media, family caregivers have a front-row seat to the highlight reels of their peers, which may cause them to experience FOMO, or fear of missing out.

This Thursday, April 18, from noon – 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) / 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), Aisha Adkins, MPA, CNP, will host a free FCA webinar, “Reframing FOMO: What to Do When Caregivers Feel Left Out of Life.”

In this discussion, caregivers will learn:

  • What FOMO looks like in context of caregiving
  • FOMO’s impact
  • Self-care solutions to connect more fully to one’s life and purpose

Aisha is a sought-after international speaker and award-winning caregiving leader based in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional. The only child of her parents’ 45-year marriage, Aisha was 27 when she began helping to care for her mother, and later her father as well. Currently, she serves as manager of training at Caring Across Generations.

We caught up with Aisha to hear more about what she’ll share in this inspiring webinar. Here’s what she had to say.

Image of woman wearing glasses and a quote

Who would get the most out of this webinar?
As part of the FCA young caregivers program, this webinar is meant to share resources and community with caregivers aged 18 to 30. That said, I’ve talked to so many caregivers of many ages who encounter the same emotions. It really does appeal to anyone who is on a caregiving journey.

What’s your own personal experience with FOMO?
I was caregiving for my mother and father in my twenties. I saw my peers living an existence that differed so greatly from my own, combined with all the external messaging I was getting about what I should be doing and what my life should look like. FOMO was very much a part of my lived experience.

Now you’re helping others reframe it. What changed?
A pivotal moment happened for me years into my caregiving role. I realized that while many opportunities will come and go in my life, I had one set of parents and one opportunity to give them the kind of support they once gave to me. I knew I’d never look back and wish I went to ‘that one house party,’ but I could see myself looking back with regret if I didn’t spend this time with my parents. So, I decided I didn’t want to spend any more time lamenting things that in the grand scheme of things weren’t as substantial.

How do you help caregivers reframe FOMO?
There’s this misconception that fun ends at a certain birthday. Now that I’m at a different stage of my caregiving journey, I have more mobility and I’m able to travel some. I’m almost in my forties and it’s still socially acceptable for me to dance. I was able to get a job I really like, and people still date after 25. I was so bitter and angry at times about the things I insisted I was missing out on, but I’ve realized those things still exist later in life.

When I talk with younger caregivers, you can see the worry on their faces, but if they’re able to sit with their feelings and ask, ‘Why am I so bothered that I’m missing out on this particular thing? Where is this fear coming from?’ Once they explore that, they often find it’s tied to social media and their desire to be included in something.

It’s really important to find other ways to feel included and the people who will meet you where you are. Once caregivers find out what that looks like for themselves, it makes the journey more positive, less lonely, and more joyful.

You encourage leaning into intergenerational friendships. Can you talk more about that?
For me, this opened up my understanding of what life can look like at different stages. I saw people embracing and enjoying life while they might still be caregiving, or in different circumstances. Despite where they were in life, they were finding joy. I thought, ‘If they can do that, maybe I can make time for what I find precious and dear and joyful.’

Any last tips for caregivers experiencing FOMO?
I’ve learned that the less you care about pretenses, the more room there is for fun. I so appreciate that now.

Learn More

Sign up for “Reframing FOMO: What to Do When Caregivers Feel Left Out of Life,” hosted April 18, from noon – 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) / 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Check out a recording of one of FCA’s related webinars “Younger Adult Family Caregivers: A Discussion with Aisha Adkins and Jenn Chan.”

Learn more about Aisha’s work at aishaadkins.com and sign up to follow her upcoming nonprofit, Caregivers of Color Collective.