Is there anyone who considers caregiving a blessing?

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I just read so many posts of people who seem to hate what they are doing, and even hate the people they are caring for. I consider this challenging work a blessing and an ultimate gift of love, next to giving our lives for another. This is a most selfless act. Tremendously hard, and trying to our selfish beings. Is there anyone else out there that believes this is a blessing? As hard as it can be, I wouldn't have it any other way. And I would hope that if I needed care one day, someone would love me enough to step up and say I will.


I consider caregiving a blessing, Smeshque. In the approximately year and a half since I've been taking care of my dad, I've learned a lot and experienced personal and spiritual growth I probably never would have experienced otherwise. Despite the downsides, I'm glad I do it and it is truly an honor to be able to do so.

That said, there a number of factors that combine to make caregiving a blessing to me:

My dad is and has always been a wonderful father and person. We've had a great relationship. There's been no abuse, neglect, substance abuse or personality disorder.

I have a great sibling to share the load of 24/7 care, and our strengths happen to complement each other pretty well. We cover each other for breaks, days off and short trips. We can rely on each other in crises and mishaps (like when I accidentally drove part of my dad's power wheelchair off the wheelchair van ramp....).

My dad does not have dementia or a mental illness that would cause him to behave strangely, not know me, or be mean or unreasonable. He is able to thank me for his care, and has said on several occasions how much he appreciates it. That means so much!

My dad is willing and able to pay me wages and pay employment taxes for me. While I don't earn as much as I would at a "regular" job, it is something. My bills are paid and I am able to save for my own retirement and old age.

And finally, my dad is older and frail, and taking care of him most likely isn't going to last decades, like it could for someone with a 60 year old parent with early onset dementia, for example. Not that I don't love my dad dearly and want him to live for a long time. I do. I can't bear to think of the time he won't be here on earth with me. But realistically, I won't be in my sixties taking care of him (I'm 48 now). Having a more limited time frame makes a difference, I think.

So caregiving is a blessing for me, but if any of these factors weren't in place, I don't know if I would be able to say this.
Taking care of my husband with dementia for 10 years was challenging and rewarding. I certainly grew. Knowing what I know now, I would do it again without question (with a few changes I've learned along the way).

Do I consider my husband's dementia a blessing? You're kidding, right? And even if I thought it was a blessing for me, how selfish would I feel being thankful for my blessing at his expense?

No. The need for caregiving in itself is not a blessing. Caregiving can certainly be rewarding. It can be a good or wonderful thing to do. But I really hate to think there is a god in the universe who would bestow the blessing of caregiving on someone at the expense of the person who needs care.
SnoopyLove, I am so glad you have have the factors in place to help make your caregiving experience an honor and an opportunity for growth. And I also appreciate your acknowledgement that these factors are often not in place for caregivers, and a lot of things can get in the way of considering it a blessing, other than pure selfishness. Thanks for your post.
Caregiving for my daddy was a blessing and an honor. It brought us closer together and I saw a vulnerable side of him that I hadn't known before. He was incredibly patient and sweet, to the end.

Caregiving for my mother is an all out teeth-grinding nightmare.

So--IMHO, depends on the person, the relationship you already have and the amount of patience you have. Taking care of someone sweet and loving is easy--taking care of someone who's angry and ungrateful---hardly a blessing.
I don't think this question can be answered in abstract terms. I have experienced caregiving as both a blessing and a curse, depending on the circumstances. Taking care of certain people has been enormously gratifying. It was an honor to be able to be present with someone when they were at their most open and vulnerable, and deeply gratifying to be able to provide comfort and support. I have had lovely experiences taking care of two of my sisters and several friends over the years during periods of illness or convalescence.

My mother, however, is a whole other issue. There's too much obligation mixed into this, too much of having to show up and do for her whether I want to or not. It's gone on way too long and required too much sacrifice of my own goals and plans along the way. And she makes it difficult and unpleasant by minutely micromanaging everything I try to do for her. I always feel like I can't wait to get away from her. Plus I basically just don't like her, and I don't find anything uplifting or inspiring about having to attend to her petty demands and needs.

I know it's ugly, but it is what it is. My mother brings out the worst in me. Having to take care of her for years on end brings out the very worst there is.

When I first was caring for my mother I felt that everything in my life up until then had prepared me for the task and I was fulfilling my destiny. But then I crashed and burned; the realization I wasn't up to the task was a huge blow and the most hurtful thing is that she seems just as satisfied in the nursing home as she was at home with me and it feels like all that sacrifice was for nothing. So yes I grew, but then I imploded and I still haven't sorted it out yet and likely never will.
I understand that not everyone has the same circumstances. And I do not consider the reason for the caregiving as a blessing. But the act of providing the care for those in need, as the blessing. It is a commitment some do not want, some cannot handle, and some don't even think about.
It's like this, i have a brother who is a lot older than myself, he and I have never gotten along, and he has always belittled me. However, if he ended up needing care and asked me to do it, I would do it. I would not be excited about it, but I would do it. Why? Because as with My Mom and Dad who I loved and love dearly, it is not about me, when someone is in need. It is about the need, and can I fill it.
I know some will have somethings to say in regards to that. But, the truth of the matter is that if anyone needed me to care for them I would do it, with God's help and my strength coming from Jesus Christ.
I am not judging anyones circumstances, for it is not my place to judge. We all wear different shoes.
I am just wanting to know if anyone else understands the blessings behind this. The growth spiritually and emotionally that can be attained. And the reward when we have forsaken ourselves for another. I know the world around says to think about ourselves first. But I do not believe that in any way shape or form.
Love, has a very big definition most people do not even know what it means.
Anyway, I pray for all of you caregivers, it is a challenge. Best wishes to all of you, who do your best.
The way I see things, the answer to the question is simple, caregiving is ALWAYS a blessing.

There are two key aspects to remember, one, is that our human nature is such, that most of us only reach a certain spiritual and mental growth when facing important challenges. Caregiving is a prime example of an important challenge, actually it’s one of the toughest challenges that a person can ever face, as it involves pretty much quitting our own life for others, learning the true meaning of patience, to be disciplined, to be loving even when we don’t have too much to give, to be responsible..and to face and accept death!
Really difficult to imagine a harder challenge.

The second key aspect to remember is that a blessing does not always equal something easy and pleasurable as we would normally think of it. Or said a different way, the true blessing is many times behind or beyond the hardest life challenges. For example, a sunny day, a good day at work, a funny joke...all those are examples of everyday blessings that should be recognized as such...but true transforming blessings are those that change us, those that force us to finally quit fighting and be the clay on our Maker’s hands, as we’re meant to be!

We don’t necessarily grow on a sunny day, or laughing at a joke or feeling content at work.. We grow when we face situations that require us to open our lives to transforming experiences, which always involve giving up ourselves or part of ourselves for others. Caregiving is probably the best example of a transforming experience.

I’d even add that the more difficult the situation we face is, the greater the blessing..This is not some form of sadist thinking! It’s really just realistic logic.
The more I face the more mature I become, the more selfless I get, the stronger I am.. That is the true blessing!

Believe me, every day, and so many times during the day I feel incapable, inadequate, unfairly treated, weak, and even like a failure...obviously none of that is pleasant. But I know for a fact that this journey my mom and I are living is probably the most enriching experience we’ll ever live..and also the hardest!

To be able to recognize caregiving as a blessing is actually the greatest blessing!! And it makes us stronger and gives us hope! Without hope I’d have nothing. I find my hope in my journey and I know without any doubt that God is watching over me and helping me walk through this path that I still have trouble accepting, yet I embrace it, if that makes sense.

I’m not a religious fanatic or anything like that. I’m just someone that was chosen to make a choice, and making that choice has been the most difficult step I’ve taken and keep taking everyday in life, but also the biggest blessing I’ve received.

God bless you all!

Rossess, thank you. You get it. That is what I feel. You express it so well, and I love when you do.
I don't see caregiving as a blessing or a curse, or in terms like that. I'm not religious and don't believe in such things as blessings, which for me have too much of a spiritual connotation.

Life happens; it's up to us to learn how to turn it into a positive or negative. And we ourselves as well as our responses are strong factors in determining, or allowing, ourselves to be benefited or disadvantaged by the situations.

That doesn't mean that I embrace caregiving, nor do I completely abhor it. It's provided me an opportunity to know my family much, much better, under adverse circumstances which often bring out the best and the worst of people.

I've gained from their strength, and that's helped make me a stronger person (I hope!).

It's allowed for the creation of alternative avenues of care, response, financial management, activities and more. I think this is one of the most important lessons learned - that there are alternate ways of doing things. I see that when I read many of the posts here, by frustrated people whose way of life has been compromised and is now a narrow path with few positive alternatives.

I think these "eye openers" I've experienced have built on a career in law, where the issue of how a transaction can be structured as mundane or very creatively. The Creating Confident Caregiver Alzheimer course I took added to that, opening ways to address situations that were probably unlike any other experienced.

Participation in professional organizations contributed as well, especially a governmental contracting association with a mix of government, military and private sector professionals.

Alternative ways of handling things were also benefited from learning more about backpacking, which initially attracted me because of the peace and calm that comes from interacting with nature. But I learned of methods people use to live for days w/o power and other standards of contemporary living.

These people aren't like silly if not amateurish and ridiculous participants in programs on tv. The backpackers I've met are legitimate nature lovers who span both and untamed wild and a structured work environment. Their strength and creativity has helped guide me to find alternative solutions in caregiving, and that's helped me grow, and hopefully adapt to caregiving more successfully.

I won't deny that I get frustrated, tired if not exhausted, and just wish for a more normal life. But I'll have that eventually, and can benefit from what I've learned throughout the process, and enjoy the rest of my life better than I would have w/o the caregiving experience.

I recall some of what we called "baby lawyers" who were hired by firms for which I worked. They had just completed law school, had their own visions of how life as an attorney would be. Then came the disillusionment when they realized that not all clients are grateful or professional, sometimes they would have to cancel vacations or holiday events b/c a client needed something on Christmas Eve, and that life in a large law firm could be structured in terms of reaching partnership status.

Some became disillusioned, unhappy, sometimes even morose. Others had a more pragmatic view: that particular firm was a stepping stone: get your experience, learn how to network and bring in clients, establish a dedicated client base, then move on. Leveraging their experience was the key.

Whether or not we're caregivers, we would probably encounter changes in life that challenged our plans. I really believe the key to survival is adaptation - learning how to assess the challenges, benefits and drawbacks, and leverage them to make them helpful in the next stage of our lives.

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