Are you a caregiver? A caregiver is anyone–friend or family–who steps in to help. Caregiving means that you, the caregiver, take on the responsibility for someone else’s life. You might shop for groceries, babysit, or pick up clothes at the dry cleaners. You might provide transportation to doctors’ appointments or deal with insurance claims. Above all, you take on the worry. The person you are caring for can’t manage on their own. You know it. They may or may not realize how essential you are to their well being.
What happens so often is that an initial crisis turns into a long, agonizing decline. Now, it’s not just hours every week. It’s years of your life. That’s where the rubber meets the road.
Taking on a caregiving role isn’t something most of us have in our life plan. We’re called into service like reluctant draftees. There simply isn’t anybody else. Taking on this role could jeopardize your own retirement security. Long-term caregiving also can take a toll on your health. To take on this responsibility willingly, generously, and with an open heart–that’s the key to your success. On this website you’ll find news about caregiver health, smartphone apps, home nursing, hiring and paying for help, and much more. You’ll also find stories from people who’ve been walked the caregiver’s long, and sometimes lonely, walk.
Above all, caregiving means that you, the caregiver, must guard your emotional resources. Only you can provide what the person you are caring for needs most. It’s what we all need. Love, attention and compassion.
If you’re a caregiver, what are your biggest challenges? If you were one but have now come out on the other side, how did you cope? If you could write a letter to a person who is new to caregiving, what advice would you offer?