While caregiving can bring challenges, it can also bring joy, both for professional caregivers and family caregivers. With the phrase “caregiver burnout” becoming more common as people are living longer and as family members are experiencing the “burden of care”, the perception is sometimes that caregiving is a thankless job. However, the rewards of caregiving are plentiful, and caregivers who embrace their role find that the joy far outweighs the challenges. Caregivers are a bridge for their client or loved one, often empowering independence by assisting with daily activities that many people take for granted, or simply by providing companionship, letting the client know that they are not alone. Working together to understand the client’s needs and how to meet these needs creates a special relationship between caregiver and client. This relationship is a path for personal growth for the caregiver, giving them purpose and greater meaning.
When caregivers who have a passion for their role share stories, they often exude a warmth that carries through their words and expression. There’s pride in sharing how they’re giving back, helping someone who once helped them, or someone who reminds them of a parent or grandparent who may have passed on. These caregivers often have a high level of awareness, knowing that one day, the person in need of care may be themselves. Paying it forward, caring for another as they wish to one day receive care, gives them peace of mind and a deep sense of gratitude with the reminder that every day is an opportunity for kindness, compassion, and love.
The first step in discovering the joy of caregiving is finding support, with a top priority being supporting oneself through education. Gaining confidence through learning how to provide proper care is essential. Joining this with learning how to understand the emotional needs of the person needing care and learning how to balance these needs with the needs of the person providing care sets the stage for discovering the joy of being a caregiver.