“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ~ Rosalyn Carter
What is a caregiver? What defines them? According to my favorite online dictionary, vocabulary.com, a caregiver is, “Someone who takes care of a very young, elderly, or ill person. If you make sure your ailing friend eats every day and is relatively comfortable, you are her caregiver. Being a caregiver is sometimes a paying job – a home health aid and a nurse in a hospital both work as caregivers. When a family member is ill, you may become a temporary caregiver, bringing hot soup and warm blankets.”
Caregivers also have a few distinct qualities like compassion, empathy, and integrity. They are people who often care more for their patient(or client) than they do for themselves. There is a passion inside them to help others with whatever they’re going thru. They are there thru thick and thin until the very end, literally.
Sometimes we get a bad reputation because not everyone who is a caregiver is honest. Far too many of these kinds of people steal things from their clients. Money, valuables, etc. Sometimes a person goes into the caregiving field to prey on the weakest among us. Thankfully they’re far and few between.
I have been on both sides of the fence – the caregiver and the employer. I had to find others to help care for my mom. Fortunately I knew then that not all caregivers are good.
I learned early on in my career of caregiving how important it is to have a positive attitude and to maintain the person’s independence and dignity. Let’s face it, most of us don’t ask for help let alone be dependent on another human to care for us. I’ve also learned that to be effective, the caregiver should have the ability to read their client. This way you know how much you can or can’t joke around with them or push them to care for themselves more.
In my 15+ years of caregiving I have had the pleasure of taking care of many different types of people in different stages of life. The hardest client to care for is the one you get to know well who goes into the end stages of their life. I’ve been privileged to make them as comfortable as possible and I’ve even held their hand as they pass away.
Perhaps the best reward was what one client did in her final hours. I was working the evening shift and she was very restless. I set a chair next to her bed and held her hand while comforting her and trying to alleviate her anxiety. When I got up to fix her pillow she asked me to come closer, so I bent over more. In her most lucid state that evening, she put her hand on my cheek and simply said, “I love you. Thank you.” That moment was worth more than a paycheck any day.
Thought for the day: Caring for another person can be the most heartwarming experience, however it can be heartbreaking too. It truly does take a special kind of person to do it well.
***Please be sure to read more of my posts