Taking care of others seems to come naturally to some people and not so much for others. My daughter, for example, at the age of 8, is a natural caregiver. She has had that nurturing spirit since birth. For me, I am usually pretty good, but have my moments where I am just too self-absorbed or not thoughtful enough. I know some people, good people–I’m not trying to put them down in any way–that are awful at taking care of others. Caregiving is just not an area you would want them to be working. However, when it comes to close family members, everyone should be capable of some aspects of care-giving, because life happens. We all need to be ready to chip in when needed.
Taking Care of Others
Be it strangers, family members or pets, taking care of others is an important part of humanity. The act of care-giving strengthens the bonds between people and teaches little ones the importance of being thoughtful. My children’s lives have been enriched with value, compassion and loyalty after helping take care of sick family members.
This year especially has been a real test for me. My grandma had a small stroke a few weeks ago and that turned my world up-side-down. Gram is like a mom, sister and best friend to me. That woman means more than anything!
As soon as I got the call, I dropped everything and got to her as soon as possible. With two kids, extra curriculars, my own full time school load, work and everyday housework, this extra running around put a lot of stress on everyone. Just worrying about her health is enough but our hectic schedules don’t allow for much time for daily trips to the hospital. My workload only increased as my energy and stamina decreased from all the stress. I am still catching up after 2 months!
Thankfully, Gram only had to spend about a week in the hospital and could then continue therapy from home. She was unable to use her right leg for a while but is making great progress! She can even walk without a walker now! She is still unable to drive so she needs help shopping and getting around. My semester for school is finally done, so I am able to help with that a lot easier now. But while all this is going on, I wonder how I could be performing more efficiently, or perhaps, pleasantly…
I know many are not so fortunate and require full time care with no recovery in sight. The strength this requires is immeasurable for patient and caregiver. I give true thanks and admiration to the heroes that do this daily and typically go unnoticed.
According to data from the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 65 million people in the U.S. are unpaid family caregivers. Seven in 10 of those caregivers take care of someone 50 years of age or older, according to research done in conjunction with the AARP. Especially with aging baby boomers, many of our plans for traveling or relaxing in early retirement are replaced with being on-call 24/7 caregivers to our parents.
7 Tips for a Good Caregiver
Genworth Financial offers many great resources on several life topics. I found this article sharing habits of good caregivers to be really insightful and inspiring. This article included 7 great habits, here they are in summary:
- Do not look at care-giving as a burden or inconvenience.
- Be a good, sincere listener.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Take care of yourself.
- Ask for help from others.
- Don’t forget to reassure yourself. It’s okay to pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.
- Be patient.
I think it is very helpful to put yourself in the shoes of others. Imagine what they are going through and think of what you would want and give it to them. Your time will come when you need help and hopefully we will all be so lucky to have wonderful people in our lives. 🙂
Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network.
Friday 31st of May 2013
Thanks for the helpful tips. Love that picture of your grandma with the pretty birds!
Thursday 30th of May 2013
Awww, cute lovebird!
Thursday 30th of May 2013
A natural way to take care of yourself is by getting a massage!
Monday 27th of May 2013
My Mom has Alzheimers and before she went to line in an ALC we daughter took turns taking care of her. She needs help with her medicines, meals and her personal care. In some ways it's like taking care of a toddler again.
Tuesday 28th of May 2013
I think the attitude of the person being cared for makes a big difference in the over all relationship. I could never work in health care.
Saturday 25th of May 2013
Caregivers have one of the hardest jobs. I worked in Healthcare for the last 6 years and I know. I love what I do. My grandmother is my grandfathers caregiver and i praise her every day. I know I'd do that for my husband and him to me. I am so glad they're still with me! I'm glad yours is with you too!