Caregiving will teach you many lessons. One of the most important lessons you learn, is to live your own life more fully. Caregivers face special problems and issues. Caring for another individual is an intimate and personal experience. People who find themselves in the role of caregiver must understand one important reality: You simply can’t do it alone! You cannot possibly do this job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! You cannot be a good caregiver if you can’t take care of yourself. You need to know that you can be happy in your role as a caregiver, but not if you always let the illness or Disability of others overshadow your own needs.
What does it mean to be a happy person when you are a family caregiver? How can you gain a feeling of confidence in your abilities and have a sense of pride in your achievements? How do you stand up for yourself, take care of yourself and find a balance between your own needs and those of your loved ones?
Our inner strength is the gift we have been given. It is the “pay back” for the pain, and although many of us would gladly trade it in for an easier life and our loved one’s health and well being, we nevertheless ought to recognize its extraordinary value.
The problem is I don’t think most caregivers do recognize it. I think most caregivers are so caught up in the act of caregiving that they don’t step back and look at the extraordinary things they do. I think a great many caregivers don’t even identify themselves as caregivers.
Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves, and we get into a state of constant worry or anxiety because we think we are not doing enough. Know that there is no RIGHT or WRONG way to caregive. It is okay if you do not have all the answers, no one does. I wish caregivers themselves would recognize their value, acknowledge their individual achievements. For the most part, caregivers use their inner strength to help their loved ones and to get through difficult caregiving days. Caregivers need to begin to use it to take better care of themselves, to feel proud, to experience the beauty of self love.
What is caregiving? How do you define a family caregiver? You define family caregivers by their emotions and their spirit, by the sadness in their eyes, but also by the determination in their hearts. Caregivers are very special people!