According to the dictionary a caregiver is "a person who takes care of an ill or disabled child or adult." Are you kidding me? This definition makes me flat out angry because it doesn't begin to define what a caregiver is; what a caregiver does or who a caregiver is. I decided to write my own definition.
A caregiver is that rare and special individual who says "yes" to helping, supporting and caring for a loved one. A caregiver offers the most special gift of all to another human being who is in need of care. A caregiver doesn't just help with the daily challenges of life, but a true caregiver provides not only physical support, but also emotional and spiritual support all given with love. A caregiver is really God's way of giving us angels here on Earth. A caregiver does Angelwork.
As a society we need to do a better job of embracing the totality of what it means to be a caregiver for a loved one. And caregivers in turn need to embrace their role as one of importance, significance and honor they play in a loved one's life. So often the caregiver is alone in this journey and this aloneness leads to feelings of isolation and a lack of importance. And nothing could be further from the truth. When you care for a loved one, be it a mother, father, sibling, child or a friend, you are continually called upon to give unselfishly to your loved one.
There are days and nights when you feel like you are on your last leg, but you get up and keep going. You give and give and give and often you give without thinking of your needs. I don't want to use the sacrifice in the truest sense of the word, but there is most definitely sacrifice involved when you say "yes" to caregiving. Wouldn't it be better if as a caregiver, you wrapped your head around the idea that caregiving and Angelwork are one in the same? So the next time someone asks you what you've been doing lately…answer with, "I've been doing Angelwork." And see how that definition makes you feel.
Cindy Laverty is the Founder of The Care Company & host of The Cindy Laverty Show, the nation's only commercial radio program dedicated to the subject of CARE - how we care for ourselves, so we can better care for each other, Cindy has established herself as an advocate and coach for America's family caregiver. She is an author and public speaker. For more information and her website, visit her Expert Profile and website.