Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Caregiver
Caregiving is a rewarding job. There is no better feeling than the feeling of fulfillment that you can get after being able to provide care to a person who needs it. However, even though it looks easy from an outsider’s perspective, caregiving is actually difficult. Everyone can provide care, but not everyone can become an effective caregiver. There are lots of things that you need to consider before taking on the responsibility of caregiving.
Eleanor Gaccetta, an author with nine and a half years of experience in caregiving, shows just how challenging the job can be in her book One Caregiver’s Journey. It is a book that narrates the experiences of Gaccetta herself as a caregiver for her mother. Her experiences allowed Gaccetta to determine what it really takes to be effective at caregiving. Gaccetta’s prerequisite to becoming a caregiver follows the notion that caregiving is something that one needs to give careful consideration to. If you are someone who plans to become a caregiver, then there are some essential questions that you need to ask yourself first.
Do you have the necessary knowledge?
Before diving right into the responsibility of caregiving, the very first thing that you should ask yourself is, “Do I have the necessary knowledge on this?” This stage of determining whether or not a person is knowledge-wise ready to take on the job of caregiving is often skipped by many people. Generally, people assume that they already have the necessary knowledge for the job simply because they think that caregiving is that simple. This is not true, however.
Before assuming the responsibility of being a caregiver, you first need to assess yourself and determine if you have sufficient knowledge about caregiving. Caregiving encompasses a broad range of duties and tasks, including daily assistance, medical monitoring, food preparation, personal care, and more. If you are totally new to caregiving, then it is important that you learn that supervision and assistance are only the tip of the iceberg. Caregiving still has a lot in store for you.
Do you have good communication and interpersonal skills?
Caregiving requires a person to be good at communicating and interacting, especially when it comes to elderly adults, children, and people with health conditions. Because of this, your communication and interpersonal skills are matters to be considered before you start caregiving. These two are necessary skills to be an effective caregiver. Because caregivers converse with their care recipients on a daily basis, it is important for them to know how to communicate effectively. Especially when it comes to communicating with children and elderly adults, caregivers are expected to manifest utmost patience and understanding.
Aside from being good communicators, caregivers must also be active listeners to their care recipients. They should know how to deal with their patients, especially during difficult moments. The better interpersonal skill a caregiver has, the more capable he or she is in attending to the needs of his or her care recipient. So, before assuming the responsibility of being someone’s caregiver, as yourself first, do you have good communication and interpersonal skills?
Are you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the responsibility?
This is the most important thing that you need to consider before becoming a caregiver – your preparedness. Gaccetta’s prerequisite to becoming a caregiver, particularly, boils down to a single question: Are you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the responsibility? As repeatedly stated, caregiving is a tough job. It requires a person to have not just physical vigor, but mental and emotional strength as well. Caregiving is not as simple as it looks. It consists of a wide range of easy and complex tasks, and it requires adequate knowledge and skills.
So, if you decide to pursue caregiving, then you must prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. You need to have a healthy lifestyle so you can be strong and steadfast enough to fulfill all of your caregiving duties. You also need to develop a positive and resilient mindset to be able to keep your sanity intact when things get difficult along the way. Most importantly, before becoming a full-blown caregiver, it is important that you learn how to harbor patience, understanding, and love. Caregiving is difficult. However, it can become less taxing and more rewarding if you look at it not just as a job, but rather as a commitment to a person that you love and care for. In the end, if you are really passionate about caregiving, then you should not allow challenges and exhaustion to eat you up. Instead, let them motivate you to become a better caregiver!