The True Benefits of Caring For Our Loved Ones
If you are caring for a loved one as part of end of life care in Santa Clara and elsewhere, you know how challenging it can be on a day to day basis. But you may also know it can be a rewarding experience that comes with many benefits. Perhaps you get a chance to bond with the father you never really could quite connect with, or perhaps you’re able to spend more quality time with a spouse from whom you’ve grown apart. That bond is a true benefit of caring for a loved one, and we’ll explore that in this week’s blog.
When most people think about caregiving, they tend to think solely of the challenges that caregivers face, rather than the special, intangible benefits. In fact, studies show that 8 in 10 people say their time caregiving is a positive experience, according to CaregiverStress.com. From learning new life skills to achieving a greater sense of purpose, there’s no denying the benefits involved, not just for the recipient but to the caregiver as well.
Caregiving helps you feel…
- Good About Yourself – Many people don’t get meaning, purpose, and true satisfaction out of their day jobs, but they do when they provide care. This desire to feel needed and appreciated is innate in all of us, giving our lives greater purpose as we are forced to focus on the important things in life, such as nurturing relationships with those we care deeply about.
- A Sense of Accomplishment – There are many difficult challenges that come with caregiving, and they can be very stressful. However, when we take the time to work through those challenging times to come out the other side, we are better for it. Bringing joy to another human is always a rewarding experience.
- Loved and Supported – When you care for another person, you foster empathy as you connect with that person.The simple act of caregiving forges deep bonds as both parties lean on each other for support. At the same time, facing this new role and the challenges it poses will cause you to re-evaluate your priorities and step away with a deeper appreciation and knowledge of who your spouse, sibling, or parent really is.
- Valued – Caregiving teaches us a whole different set of skills as we tackle new physical and emotional challenges each day. That builds character. And when we can learn new skills in helping others, such as balancing your loved one’s checkbook because they can no longer do so, this teaches us important virtues like loyalty and patience along with the technical skill learned.
- Confident – Before you started caring for your loved one, you probably never dreamed of the new things you would learn along the way. Caregiving forces you into all sorts of roles, many of which you may not feel comfortable with at first. But as you navigate through the process, you will find you are communicating with case managers, nurses, doctors, physical therapists, even lawyers. You’ll learn new skills such as how to give your loved one medication. In the end, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve managed to take on, and hopefully, recognize the importance of the role you played.
Connect With Loved Ones
Connection. That’s what’s at the heart of any caregiving experience. Caring for another person, especially in their time of need, brings meaning, value, and pleasure to both parties. This isn’t to say you’ll feel warm and fuzzy every minute of every day. There will be times of frustration, or doubt, or sadness as you learn to take on this newfound role that you did not ask for. It’s important to stay calm and relaxed, taking time out of each day to make an effort to connect with your loved one. Studies show this connection can release hormones that elevate mood, reduce stress, and spur biological changes that boost your overall physical health, says HelpGuide. And it goes both ways.
Even if your loved one can’t communicate with you in a verbal way, still take the time to connect. Get rid of any distractions: turn off cell phones, TVs, and computers. Make eye contact when speaking with your loved one, touch their arm, and speak in a calm tone of voice. This approach will lower stress and support physical as well as emotional well-being so that true connection can be achieved.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
All caregivers provide value, but all caregivers also need a break at some point. If you are a family member or friend caring for a loved one, we value and respect you! But take a break now and then with respite care as your loved one navigates through end of life care. Our professional caregivers can give you that much-needed break, as well as peace of mind in the knowledge that your loved one is getting the care and attention they need while you recharge. To learn more, contact us at 888-978-1306.