The Rewards of Caregiving and Why It's Important
"Your column often shares advice with people who are struggling to care for a loved one. From family conflicts to uncooperative parents and siblings, there seems to be no end to the litany of troubles people have as caregivers. What about the positive aspects of caregiving? Would you please talk about some of the rewards or benefits of being a caregiver?" - READER
Since this is a caregiving column, I do receive many questions about the struggles associated with taking care of another human being. I believe caregiving is one of the hardest and most rewarding things we can do with our lives. Most parents looking back at the challenges associated with raising a child to adulthood will also agree that it was worth it. There are many joyful moments and many tough days. Caregiving, like all work, has positives and negatives, good days and bad. But there are, indeed, many rewards to caregiving. "A survey by the National Opinion Research Center (2014) found that 83 percent of caregivers viewed it as being a positive experience."
LET's first TALK ABOUT WHY CAREGIVING MATTERS:
- We all require a caregiver or two as infants. Humans are simply not able to care for themselves for many years after birth.
- Unless we die suddenly, it is likely that we will rely on others for food, shelter, and supervision at the end of our lives.
- Humans instinctively care for each other when we are vulnerable, especially family members.
- Would you want to live in a world or society that does not care for those in need?
NOW LET'S DISCUSS SOME OF THE REWARDS OF CAREGIVING:
- Caring for someone brings you closer to that person, creating a special bond.
- You will make a material difference in a loved one's life.
- It will likely change your perspective on life and your own humanness.
- There will be sincere appreciation from the person being cared for.
- Knowing that you have given the most valuable gift – time.
Caregiving is not for the weak. It is hard work that seems endless at times, though it is not. It is through being a caregiver that we experience the full breadth and power of life. It is sometimes not until after the job is done that we discover just how much it changed the very nature of who we are.
Thank you for your question, and I wish you the best!
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