It takes a special type of person to provide senior home care. You spend a good deal of your time ensuring that your loved one gets the best medical attention available, and you provide for their emotional needs. It’s rewarding work, but we know that such a job can also be draining and stressful. Sometimes, it can be hard to look at the bright side and to see the rewards that come with your role. Below are just a few of them.
You’re stronger than you think
Sure, being a caregiver shows your emotional fortitude and your strength of character. But did you know that caregivers are often physically strong as well? The following study shows that the walking, carrying, and transportation associated with caregiving corresponds to physical endurance and ability.
You’re smarter than you think, too
It’s not only your body that gets a workout from providing care – there are benefits to your brain as well. Keeping the brain active can improve its function, and many tasks associated with caregiving are a brain workout, including handling medications, keeping track of schedules, coordinating visits to multiple doctors, and engaging in creative problem-solving.
Increased closeness with loved ones
Caregiving often presents an opportunity to be close to your loved ones in a way you never imagined. It’s true that to a certain extent, this involves taking care of their physical needs. But as you accompany them on their aging journey, you learn the details of their lives; their hopes, dreams, and fears. These details may surprise and inspire you.
Living in the moment
Despite the fluctuations between tedium and crisis, caring for older adults holds special moments as well. Maybe it was an unexpected smile your loved one gave you, or a memory they shared in a doctor’s waiting room. These moments may be few and far between, but when they do occur, they linger fondly in the memory for a long time.
A new perspective
Providing care for an older adult can give you a new perspective on life in a way that few other things can. Suddenly, you realize what is truly important, like spending time appreciating the little things, and being grateful for whatever good health you enjoy.
Possible training for a career
Often, those who become professional home health aides have some experience caring for aging friends or loved ones. Although this is not a substitute for professional training and certification, it can give you a taste of what working with older adults on a daily basis is like. If you find that at-home care is something that you enjoy, and you seem to have a knack for it, you might want to take the next step and go pro. Be sure to contact a reliable and certified aide program–as well as your state board of health–in order to gain information about any licensure and practice requirements.
Making a difference
When you’re a caregiver, one thing is certain: you never have to doubt whether you are making a difference. Just being there for an older adult – even just to provide solace and companionship – has a huge impact on their lives. There’s also the fact that you are helping to keep them alive and comfortable by meeting their medical needs. It’s clear that you’re not only making a difference; you’re making a huge one.
You don’t have to provide senior home care alone
Even with all its rewards, being solely responsible for providing senior home care may be too much for any one person to handle. There is no shame in admitting that this is a difficult job. Fortunately, help is available for you and your loved one. Consider hiring a private care aide to give yourself a short break, or to ease your daily burdens. This way, you can still enjoy the perks that come with being a caregiver, while continuing to ensure that your loved one is getting the support and attention they deserve.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.