To care for someone exactly as they are and sometimes in their darkest and scariest moments of life is the truest form of empathy and compassion. “Care giving 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. Care giving holds a great amount of responsibility, looking into the daily tasks of a caregiver you would see that it is a demanding field that requires a lot of patience and time management, but you would also see that it is extremely fulfilling and so 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 looks like helping residents to get dressed to assisting them with the restroom and grooming, giving them the proper medication and helping them maintain good nutrition and going to appointments but most importantly it looks like companionship. Grooming and keeping good personal hygiene, most seniors are still able to do activities for themselves they just need assistance; I am not there to do everything for them but to make sure that they are doing it and doing it properly for optimal health. 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… with age our memory starts to gradually decline so 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 gets harder for us to maintain the vital nutrients we need it also becomes much 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. Many caregivers also help with light housekeeping; helping residents with activities like this can be very beneficial to keeping a healthy life style.
Care giving is different for everyone as we all have different types of patients with different types of level of care but one thing always stays consistent, the level of urgency and love we put into each patient. Care giving requires strength, resilience, determination and a lot of patience, it is so important for caregivers to understand that the people that they are caring for are going through one of the most difficult situations that they have ever been in; we have to understand that we are working with people who have medical conditions that they have no control over, it is important to never take anything personal. 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 have learned to always be grateful and appreciative, laughter truly is the best medicine and self care is so extremely important no matter how old you are. Care giving has given me a sense of understanding myself and in others that I never had before it has helped teach me so many beautiful lessons I would not change for anything, the long days and the difficult moments are all worth it when I see the smile on my patients faces. Care giving is the truest form of empathy and compassion I have ever been able to give and receive.