Sometimes a caregiving situation is short-lived, for instance when an injury or illness heals quickly. At other times, caregiving can last for years, or even decades. No two caregiving journeys are exactly the same.
Caregiving challenges can include:
- Sleep deprivation.
- Having a living space that is cluttered with medical equipment.
- Being obliged to take someone else’s special diet into consideration at every meal.
- Being responsible for another person’s medications.
- Being responsible for another person’s finances.
- Managing another person’s incontinence.
- Being deprived of socializing, exercise and travel because your loved one can no longer participate in these things.
- Caring for the physical needs of a spouse, or other loved one, whose mind has been lost to dementia, leaving you as a caregiver alone, yet not alone, with a grief that is uniquely painful.
- Realizing that you can’t manage without more help, but also can’t afford it, can’t find it, or are embarrassed to ask for it.
- Having to take another person into consideration when making almost all life decisions.
- Having to put off your own personal appointments.
- Being on call 24 hours a day, while never having a set time when work begins and ends
- Trying to lift more physical weight than you are capable of.
- Watching your own retirement dreams turn into a life of service and self-sacrifice.
- Having to choose between buying medication for your loved one, or something else you really, really need… like groceries or your own medications.
- And occasionally… Finding out that your siblings are ok with leaving the care of your aging parent in your hands while they carry on with life as usual and wonder what the fuss is all about.
So, what do caregivers “get” out of caring for a loved one?
We get to know that our loved one is receiving the best care we can provide. We get to know that we are doing our best to give our loved one the experience of being loved. We get to keep our loved one with us.