Caring for the elderly is sometimes a never-ending, thankless job. I've had the opportunity to care for my mom, my mother-in-law, and a couple of my friends' moms and some neighbors. Some were easier than others; the ones who were most independent before needing care were more difficult. They had a hard time with letting someone else do for them what they used to do for themselves. Others seem to enjoy the take care of me feeling. Still others embraced the help, knowing they could no longer do for themselves, but found relief that necessities would be taken care of and the comfort in the new things they could do. While each one was different and holds a dear place in my heart, some days were alot more trying than others. As a caregiver, I see my role as one stepping in to do the things that need to be done, that can no longer be done by the individual. Some ladies needed more care bathing, getting a meal together, or laundry or shopping. Others simply needed a ride somewhere or some company. Some days were frustrating due to simply needing a good cry or having a pity party. The doers seemed to have the most trouble with this aspect. They are the ones who were used to having things a certain way, whether it's food tasting this way, or the clothes folded 'just so'. While I recognize how hard it is to suddenly have help to do the things you used to do without a second thought, it is equally hard on the caregiver, who is usually not a mind reader.
There were others who seemed to be helpless. While grateful for the help they recieved, there was an air of entitlement about them. These are the ones that can really wear a caregiver out. I'm not talking about those who are truly unable to do anything for themselves; I refer to those who are able but find it easier to let somebody else do it. These are the takers - those who will take all given to them and seek more simply because they can. These dear ones are those who create resentment by creating an atmosphere of guilt along with their demands.
The lessons these dear ones have taught me have been invaluable to my everyday experiences. Sometimes I find myself being a 'taker'; especially when a gift is freely given, with no 'strings' attached. Other times, I'm more of a 'doer' because I know if I do it, it will get done! More often than not, though, I am a 'giver'. I find it easy to give of my time or assistance. My favorite thing to give is encouragement, because there is not enough of it. Being the caregiver for someone is an awesome responsibility; it is also a labor of love. The many things you do, no matter how small or insignificant they seem to be to you, are seen by Our Heavenly Father. He appreciates what you do for His child. Today, let me encourage you in your caregiving, whether it's for a newborn or an elderly loved one or anyone in between. Know your Heavenly Father sees each moment and has not forgotten you; He is pleased with your service to Him.