Walking, eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom—these are all tasks that we typically learn as young children. For most of us, over time they become so routine that we forget that there was a time when we underwent extensive training to master these skills. Now imagine a scenario where these commonplace occurrences—known in the medical world as “activities of daily living”—start to become a challenge again. Gradually over time, or suddenly through some traumatic event, anyone can find himself or herself at this difficult point.
That’s where many caregivers enter the picture.
Although the job is not easy and the pay is relatively modest, there are some significant rewards to the job. In particular, helping someone regain one or many activities of daily living is immensely gratifying. Developing the traits of trustworthiness, compassion and patience are pivotal in getting into a position where you can make that kind of life-changing impact. Family members and clients you work with should be able to see that you are someone who puts their well-being at heart.
The Little Things
There is no doubt that caregiving is stressful, but there are unmistakable rewards in playing such an important role in someone else’s life.
Being with your client day to day, seeing them at their weakest and most vulnerable times, you get the chance to develop a genuinely unique bond and trust. Seeing your client’s face light up when he has accomplished something you challenged him to do—and which he thought would be impossible—makes for a priceless moment.
Whatever you do to pass the time, whether it is playing board games or watching movies, there is real reward in enjoying your time together and knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life. Day by day, the interactions that a caregiver has with a client offer an opportunity to explore life through a different pair of eyes. These eyes have seen some really interesting things, and by navigating this world with them, often through asking about life events, caregivers gain a valuable education.
At the same time, by recalling different parts of their past, clients benefit by exercising their minds. And keeping the mind active and sharp increases overall health and well being.
Seeing Your Work Come to Fruition
When a caregiver first meets a client, they will have a set plan in place, usually designed by the family and an agency. This plan lists all of the details regarding the care that will be needed. It’s essentially a list of goals and a starting point for care. Usually, the overall goal is to help the client become as independent as possible. For example, if she was unable at first to brush her teeth and in the third week of care is doing so on her own, this reflects substantial success.
Seeing these changes powerfully affirms the caregiver and communicates to the family that progress is being made. Of course, not every day has a breakthrough moment. There can be setbacks and frustrations, just as we all experience in day-to-day life.
Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. There is a certain amount of emotional resilience that the job calls for. But for those who have “got it”—and leave themselves open to expanding their capacity in this area—being a caregiver is one of the most fulfilling roles they will ever play.
Based in Oak Park and operating throughout Chicagoland, ARIS at home is a family-owned provider of compassionate, quality in-home care. ARIS stands for Accountability, Respect, Integrity and Service. Online, visit www.arisathome.com, email: email@example.com, or by Phone: 708-934-4676.