Being a caregiver is one of the most important and personally rewarding roles a person will play in their lifetime. Yet, when we talk about caregiving we tend to focus on the challenges caregivers face, instead of the special, intangible benefits.
According to the National Opinion Research Centre, 8 in 10 people reported their time caregiving as a positive experience*. From gaining a greater sense of purpose to new life skills, it’s clear that the benefits of caregiving don’t just apply to the recipient, but also those who provide the care. Here are a few of the wonderful benefits caregivers often experience:
Feeling Good – Caring for others provides benefits that most people often don’t experience at their day jobs. We all have a desire to feel needed and the role of caregiver does that, which is a great feeling. It also gives a greater meaning and purpose to our lives, helping us to refocus on the more important things in life – our relationships with the people we care about.
Feeling a Sense of Accomplishment – Taking care of someone else presents unique challenges and obstacles to overcome. Dealing with the difficult scenarios caregiving presents can be stressful, but working through the tough times can be very rewarding. No one ever thinks of helping others and bringing joy to their lives as a waste of time.
Feeling loved and building strong Relationships – Caring for others helps to develop empathy and the ability to connect with people, even in difficult times. For adolescents, family caregiving has been found to increase sibling activity/sharing, which is its own challenge altogether. The act of caring for another is so powerful because it creates deeper bonds as individuals lean on each other for emotional support.
Feeling valued and experiencing personal growth – Caregivers gain a variety of skills from their experiences. Taking care of someone else forces us to learn about the proper ways to do something, whether it’s preparing finances, or planning for the future. It also teaches important virtues such as patience, understanding and loyalty that benefit individuals in both their personal and professional lives.
While the task of caregiver presents many challenges, it’s clear that, with the right attitude, the benefits heavily outweigh any negatives. Caregiving presents a special opportunity to gain intangible benefits that last a lifetime. So the next time you start thinking about all the stressful aspects of being a caregiver, try to focus instead on all the amazing things you gain from it too.