If you’re a caregiver for a loved one you might question if there are any rewards to caregiving. You juggle many tasks and you sacrifice each day for the person you’re caring for and you wonder if it’s appreciated. You become withdrawn from family and friends. You might even lose your professional job. You become angry and distant. Your life with your spouse will change. The time you spend with your children will be less. Are there any rewards to caregiving?
For me, I have a loving husband, two children and three dogs. My Mother came to live with us in 2009 due to her being bedridden and she needed 24/7 care. My life went from being a Mom and a wife with a full time office job to being a caregiver overnight. Instead of me and my Mom enjoying shopping trips and long lunches together, we were going to doctor office visits or the emergency room.
When you’re a caregiver you and your family make a lot of sacrifices. You can’t just “go out to dinner”; or go away for romantic weekends; or go on a family vacation; or simply leave for the day to go to the zoo with the kids. There are no “breaks”. And when you don’t have any help from anyone if you want to do any of these things a company has to be hired – which is expensive. Being a caregiver is like having a baby. You have to constantly be there for them – especially when they’re bedridden. My Mother is constantly calling me; “get me this, get me that, I dropped that, I spilled that, I can’t reach this, I’m uncomfortable, I need to be changed, I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m hungry”, etc. Not to mention how many times a night we’re woken up for one thing or another. Being a caregiver requires an enormous amount of patience and that patience is tested every day.
Caregivers need to support caregivers. We have a “job” that receives no pay, but it does give purpose and meaning. Today I can tell you that I am proud of what I do. I know it’s not glamorous – but it is personally rewarding.
Are there rewards to caregiving? I think so:
- There are new reasons why my husband loves me so much that “normal” people would find very unromantic.
- I would drop my most expensive plate if I heard my Mother call me for help.
- My “business meetings” are now in doctor offices and ER’s instead of a boardroom.
- There are no more “routine” days.
- I would love to become a nurse.
- I hope I am teaching my children to love and care for others in the worst possible situation.
Are there rewards to caregiving? I think so.
Please join me while I say a silent prayer for myself and for all mere mortals who stumbled their way just like I did into the most wonderful of callings of being a caregiver.