The Struggles of Caregiving
You’re not alone.
I didn’t choose to become a caregiver – it chose me. It was a natural path I discovered that has since opened a window of opportunities for me in the home health care industry. Caring for those ranging from youth diagnosed with learning disorders to elders who are highly cognitively and physically functioning, I have obtained great success and found it highly rewarding. However, along with the success comes the struggles. This blog focuses on those struggles. It’s my goal to motivate and encourage caregivers who are having a tough time that others are going through the same feelings as well – you’re not alone.
As a caregiver, you must be mentally and physically strong. Patience, a strong work ethic and selflessness are a must. Being introduced to a client and his or her family for the first time can be intimidating. Getting along with a client’s family is equally important to getting along with a client.
If you are a good fit for a family and client’s needs, you then need to build a rapport by being reliable and dedicated to caring for your client. This can be difficult based on family dynamics and differences of opinion. Often times, it is hard for family members to bring in a stranger to provide care for their loved ones. The way that you do things may be different than their approach.
Caregiver burnout can happen too easily. In my experience, I found myself working long hours. I was so invested with caring for others that I neglected my own personal self-care and became depressed. I felt a sense of isolation. Finding full-time work was difficult and I had to learn how to be a master of time management since the business hours that most places were open were spent caregiving.
Dealing with death was very tough for me. Up until getting in to caregiving, I had never experienced this and was unfamiliar with how that can affect you personally. If you are a caregiver for someone for a long period of time, you become like a member of their own family. If they pass, however, you are not allowed to go through the same grieving process as their immediate family can. Since death is a part of caregiving, I had to learn how to accept this aspect of my job and adapt accordingly.
Luckily, there are valuable resources out there to help with all of these common struggles that I
experienced personally. I would communicate with other caregivers who were taking care of my client. Just having someone to talk to that understands what you are going through first hand is invaluable. I attended caregiver burnout workshops and learned how to bring balance in to my life by doing activities I love and starting new hobbies like gardening in my greenhouse and practicing yoga. Caregiving can be tough but I wouldn’t change it for any other career.