I recently wrote a guest blog for Griswold Home Care about the flip-side of caregiving. If you’d like to read the entire article, click here: http://www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/other-side-of-caregiving-what-its-like-to-receive-care/. If you’re short of time, here’s the cliff notes version of the last three paragraphs.
When someone we love is suffering we have to find the physical strength to meet their needs while also taking on tasks they used to handle when they were well. Frequently we have to do all of this when we are emotionally drained and bone-tired from lack of sleep. We have to summon the will to continue to love them when pain, disease, depression or dementia causes them to act in a manner that isn’t very lovable.
As difficult as that is, I still believe it’s easier than being a care receiver. When you’re feeling weak and needy, it takes a lot of reassurance accept that you are still worthy of being loved. You have to humble yourself as someone else helps you on and off of the toilet, in and out of your clothes, in and out of bed. You feel vulnerable and indebted, and takes enormous emotional strength to remain positive and to graciously accept the help you need.
If you are caring for someone who cannot manage his/her own care, I hope you will also take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to maintain your physical, emotional and mental health. If you find yourself feeling a little down, take a few minutes to feel good about the gift you are giving, and then reflect on what it would be like to switch roles. If you’re like me, I suspect you will decide that as hard as it is, it truly is better to give than to receive.