A caregiver’s role can be challenging and require great self-sacrifice, but it is also one of the most rewarding careers. A caregiver provides support for those who most need it and, in that process, gain quite a lot themselves. A conversation with most caregivers will reveal that they feel their career has made them better, caring people in general.
A Sense of Purpose
One of the first things to be gained by a career as a caregiver is a sense of purpose. Unlike most careers, a caregiver is responsible for the care and wellbeing of another human being, in a close and abiding way. Spending the kind of time with another person and knowing that they depend on you, will develop a closeness. Out of that closeness and contribution to the other’s life, comes a deep sense of purpose. You are needed—your presence matters to another person.
Your days are not filled with meaningless tasks because every task is toward the well-being and care of another person.
Gain Confidence in Challenging Circumstances
As much as you may plan, challenging circumstances may arise. Depending on your client’s level of vulnerability, these circumstances may occur more often. But caregivers learn how to handle themselves and do what they must to ensure their clients’ care.
Caregivers come to realize that they cannot control everything that happens in a day, that they too have limitations. This is a lesson good for us all to learn.
Caregivers handle emergencies and other unfavorable situations with grace, and over time, they can do it without becoming tense and stressed. This is very good for the client. So, on the one hand, you realize that you are not ultimately in control of all things, and you learn to handle yourself when things don’t go well. These are both crucial things to recognize, and that recognition will benefit the caregiver in their personal lives as well.
Learn New Skills
Depending on the specific role of the caregiver, developing new skills and updating old ones, is a regular occurrence. Caregivers may be responsible for tasks like running errands for, or with, the client, to checking their blood pressure. So the level of skillset will vary, but caregivers can expect that in the daily execution of their job, they will learn new and interesting things as a matter of necessity.
Training opportunities provide caregivers with the means of dealing with dementia and helping clients live their lives joyfully, no matter their particular challenges. These are skills that the caregiver has for life.
Other necessary skills that become improved by this career are:
- Communication – both written and verbal, even if the client is unable to communicate.
- Interpersonal Skills – this is a social job, requiring you to work with the clients, their families, and maybe healthcare professionals.
- Observation – to see what’s happening that may not be obvious.
- Compassion – to feel the hurt, distress, and concerns of another human being.
- Organization and Time Management
- Patience – with your clients, yourself, and challenging circumstances.
- Initiative – to be proactive and do what must be done without instruction.
Caregiving is no ordinary or routine job. Dealing with a client is a dynamic process and makes for new circumstances each day. This can take some getting used to, but once the caregiver has adapted, they learn to be flexible.
Flexibility is an excellent benefit of this career. None of us is in complete control of everything around us, and the ability to deal with change is a life skill.
This changeable day might appeal to some people, as a routine isn’t as exciting. Caregiving provides a varied day, as you work with different clients, in different situations and environments, and with different families.
A caregiver assists with the daily living of their clients, they provide relief to families who may share in the care for their family member, and their presence gives clients attentive companionship. The role is one of a giver, and this comes with appreciation.
Clients and their families are often very vocal about their appreciation of the caregiver and their role in the client’s life. But even when the appreciation isn’t expressed, caregivers come to see their participation in their clients’ life is beneficial to them. They can see the improvements, the small (and large) gains in the client’s life, and how their companionship is needed. A caregiver will appreciate their ability to be significant in the lives of their clients and their families.
Related: What is Private Duty Home Care?
A Varied Experience
As earlier stated, this is not a mundane career. A caregiver works with a variety of clients in various circumstances and different environments. This is a regular day for a caregiver. Some clients may require more support or physical assistance than others. The caregiver learns to move from one task to the other without stress, and from one client to the next – adapting to each situation.
A caregiver learns to work with all levels of ability, backgrounds, races, and lifestyles.
Variety of Environments
Depending on the client’s needs, a caregiver may work in the home, assisting with daily tasks, like cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Another client may not live at home but in a care community. Changes of scenery can be energizing and stimulating for the caregiver. They learn to be professional in all environments, both private and public.
Stay in Shape
Most times, the role of a caregiver is a physical one. A caregiver must maintain a level of physical fitness and stamina that will serve them if needed. Even if your client is physically independent, daily chores and being on your feet for long periods will require some level of fitness. But physical fitness and overall health are advantageous to the caregiver and the client, so we add this to the list of benefits.
Related: Caregiving: Step Bravely
Strong Personal Connections
Caregivers work closely with their clients every day, and this fosters a strong connection over time. This connection also extends to the families of their clients. The caregiver may become a part of the family. These connections aren’t burdensome; they strengthen you as a person and help to build your life.
Caregiving is indeed a challenging career. You must give of yourself and invest your time, skills, strength, and emotions for the well-being of another person. But because of this level of investment, the reward and sense of accomplishment are likewise significant. Few careers can boast that they grow you so completely as a person.