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What It Means To Be A Caregiver
The truest form of empathy and compassion is to care for someone exactly as they are and sometimes in their darkest and scariest moments of life.
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into a love that we did not know was possible.”
Caregivers work in a variety of settings with an array of people and play a vital role in each one of the individuals life’s that they care for. Caregiving holds a great amount of responsibility. By looking into the daily tasks of a caregiver, you see that it is a demanding field that requires a lot of patience and time management. You also see that it is both fulfilling and rewarding. Caregivers help with the activities of daily living to individuals who are no longer able to be self dependent. Being a caregiver involves time management, interpersonal skills, organization, cleanliness, patience, and flexibility.
As a caregiver, my day consists of assisting those in need.
- helping residents to get dressed
- assisting them in the restroom
- giving medication
- maintaining good nutrition
- go to appointments
Most importantly, it looks like companionship. Most seniors are able to do activities for themselves, they just need assistance. I am not there to do everything for them, but to be there for when they need help. We assist with bathing, shampooing and conditioning the hair, shaving, styling of the hair, brushing teeth and any other hygiene needs.
The average elderly patient takes more than 5 prescription medications a day. Many medications need to be taken at certain times, with or without food etc… However, with age our memory starts to gradually decline. You could only imagine how hard it is to keep up with all of this information. As a caregiver, we aren’t only helping with remembering to take medication but helping to read labels, to understand what medication is for what, and why the resident needs to take it.
As we get older, it becomes harder for us to maintain the vital nutrients we need. It also becomes more important for us to receive those nutrients. Many caregivers will go shopping and meal prep for their residents to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrition and adequate meals. In addition to meal preparation, caregivers can also help with light housekeeping. Helping residents with activities like this can be very beneficial to keeping a healthy life style.
A healthy lifestyle may look different for each individual. However, one thing always stays consistent, the level of urgency and love we put into each patient. It requires strength, resilience, determination and a lot of patience. Caregivers understand that the people are going through one of the most difficult situations that they have ever been in. It is understood that we are working with people who have medical conditions that they have no control over, it is important to never take anything personal. In addition, to provide the best qualify of life for others.
Being a care giver has taught me that giving my time to somebody in need and helping be the voice for somebody who can no longer use their own is the purest form of service there is. I learned to be grateful and appreciative. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Importantly, self care is extremely important no matter how old you are. Caregiving has given me a sense of understanding myself and in others that I never had before. It taught me beautiful lessons. When I see the smile on my patient’s faces, it makes the long days and the difficult moments worth it. Caregiving is the truest form of empathy and compassion I have ever been able to give and receive.