6 Reasons to Appreciate Your Job As a Caregiver


Taking care of an aging loved one is draining, both physically and emotionally. It can be lonely, overwhelming and frustrating, and it often seems thankless. Despite all of this, family caregivers persevere and wake up every day to face new challenges. Why? Because they care.

Caregiving is the ultimate act of love. It is a selfless, generous thing to do, and one that many people wouldn’t think about taking on.

So give yourself some credit. Realize how important your role as a caregiver is. In times of grief and frustration, it is difficult to imagine how in the world caregiving can be considered a positive experience. However, if you delve a little deeper, you will find the silver linings of your clouds.

  1. Accomplishment
    Providing care for another person is uncharted territory. Most people are unprepared for this role. There are no courses on how to be a good caregiver. There is no textbook on what to expect. Somehow, you figured it out. You learn everything you can, get creative when you have to and do your best. Caregiving is a huge personal accomplishment, and you should be proud of your resourcefulness, flexibility and determination.
  2. A Rewarding Experience
    Even with a difficult parent, caregiving can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind of providing care, but when we adopt this short-sighted perspective, our efforts don’t seem very rewarding. Looking back someday, you will probably think that the time spent with your loved one was incredibly gratifying. When you are feeling overwhelmed, try to take a step back and think about the big picture.
  3. Being There
    One of the biggest fears that people have about illness and death is going through these events alone. Because of you, your loved one will never have to face that. Whether they are of sound mind or struggling with the effects of dementia, they will understand on some level that you are with them when they need you most. Your time, effort and attention provide comfort and have a profoundly beneficial impact on your loved one. This is an priceless gift.
  4. Precious Moments
    Like life, caregiving is full of ups and downs. They may be few and far between, but when special moments come along, they make your heart sing. A moment of recognition from a loved one with dementia, a heartfelt “thank you” from someone who is usually ornery, a long-lost family story and a shared laugh are all treasures for caregivers to cherish. These highpoints can also act as fuel to keep you chugging along if you let them. Looking back on your caregiving journey, you will remember those tender moments.
  5. You are Forever Changed
    Caregiving changes your perspective on life. This experience will help you realize what is important to you in the long run and what your goals are for yourself, your family, and your own golden years. Even under the most challenging circumstances, taking care of someone you love can have a powerful influence on your outlook, your relationships and your life.
  6. Making a Difference
    Never underestimate the impact you have on others. You’re not going to get an award, and you may not even receive any acknowledgment for what you do or what you sacrifice. But always remember: you are making a difference in someone’s life every day. That’s what life is all about.

The decision to choose others over yourself, to show mercy, to choose quality over quantity of life, and to send the message that “I am here for you,” these things are the ultimate expression of love. It isn’t easy, but it is commendable. You are part of something bigger than yourself. Celebrate it. Embrace it.

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I am caring for my husband, he is 82 and I am 58. He has Alzheimer's and recently had several small strokes. I work full time and until recently, had part time help in our home. I feel over whelmed, not only by the added workload, but in the fact that I am losing my husband of 20 years. My heart is broken. We often hear of someone caring for a parent. & even a spouse when they are closer in age. We don't fall into either category. I am nowhere near retirement and I see a long road ahead of us. I feel very frightened and alone. Because this is my spouse, there are no "siblings" to help out. His adult children don't live anywhere near us. My daughter helps as much as she can, but she has her own young family and work obligations. Friends don't know what to do, so they stop calling. Medicare (home health) only helped for a short time after a hospital stay. The nursing care facility was a nightmare. (ended up reporting them to the health dept). I don't mean to sound negative, Oh my! Yes there are moments that make my heart sing. But, by only acknowledging " the bright side" it does an injustice to those of us who are struggling.
As primary caregiver for my father who died last month at the age of 91, I can attest to all the points in this article. Being a caregiver to an aging parent was one of the most difficult tasks of my life. From the standpoint of hindsight, I am beginning to believe that I have learned so much from this experience than could not possibly be learned in other ways. We are grieving, but we are also grateful.
This article brought tears to my eyes and very much helped me. I find it an honor to be there for my mother, age 84 and of very sound mind yet confined to a chronic care facility due to issues following open heart surgery during May, 2009. Admittedly I am not a 24/7 caregiver because my mother is at this facility, but this experience has changed my life as I was so used to having a healthy mother and companion. The love that I have for my mother is enormous. I get no family support which I have learned to accept. Anger about that was not positive for me. Today I will spend with my mother and look forward to it. She is my best friend and was always there for me. Now is my turn to be there for her. She deserves no less.