The Joy of Caring

Caring for the needs of others is a complex task and there is no denying that the role can be challenging at times. However, this hard work is often rewarded and many carers consider their role a positive experience. This positivity comes from feeling needed, learning new skills, and the feeling of fulfillment and purpose that the role offers. The bond developed between the caregiver and patient is another important part of the experience.  

Role of a caregiver  

Caregiving roles take on countless shapes and forms. Professional carer roles usually involve assisting seniors, or people with illnesses or disabilities, who are unable to live independently. However, a carer can be anyone, including children and adults, who look after a family member, friend, or partner who needs help because of their illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction meaning they cannot cope without support. “There are over 6 million carers in the UK, that’s 1 in every 8 of the working population” - (Statistic according to Gov.UK). Caregivers duties and responsibilities can include: 

  • personal care- dressing, grooming, bathing, and toileting
  • food preparation- preparing meals, grocery shopping, and housekeeping
  • mobility assistance- help with getting in and out of bed, a wheelchair, or bath
  • health care - assisting with physical therapy, overseeing medication, and arranging medical appointments  
  • emotional support- being a stable companion and providing encouragement

How caregivers make a difference   

Whether providing medical care, personal assistance, or companionship, carers make a huge difference to thousands of lives. A wheelchair user on Mumsnet described the positive impact his carer has had - “The difference she makes to my life is unbelievable. She has given me back the freedom to actually go out and enjoy my life. If it wasn't for my carer I know my life would be boring, she helps me in so many ways and always has a smile on her face. We have so much fun together and I'm proud to be able to call her a close friend.”

The joys of providing care 

No matter what level of care you’re providing and who you’re caring for, it’s important to remember the many benefits. Firstly, you should feel a sense of pride and purpose knowing that you’re helping someone who needs you. You have taken the time to build a relationship with the person you care for; which has allowed them to trust you, and rely on you for support. You get to share the fun times, and be there to see successes and improvements. You are also likely to have grown a deeper appreciation of life by realising everything from the importance of regular social interaction to physical health.

Although being a carer can be challenging at times, there are plenty of ways for you to infuse extra joy into caregiving. Some suggestions include:

  • Get out the house and into nature- it has been proven that spending time in nature can improve your mood, self-esteem and motivation. Even just walking through a park or along a tree lined street can make you feel better!
  • Exercise regularly- Exercise has many benefits, including easing depression and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing tension.  
  • Develop positive thinking- there are many benefits of optimism and positive thinking. Positive thinkers are healthier and less stressed, they also have greater overall well-being.
  • Laugh and have fun- Laughter causes physical changes in your body - it strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy, reduces pain, and can protect you from the damaging effects of stress. When laughter is shared it increases happiness and intimacy and brings people closer. 

Final Thought 

So, yes, there is is no denying that caregiving is hard work; however it is also rewarding and associated with many joys. There is an increasing number of individuals who are opting to work as a carer, even after retirement. The act of providing care gives people a sense of purpose and happiness is often attained when caring for others. Time is your most valuable commodity, and choosing to use it to help someone is a great reason to experience joy.

by Emma Saunders

For carer-companion jobs through The Lady, please follow this link to our jobs board, or call our recruitment team on 020 3857 9945