Caregiver OR Caretaker: Which are you?

Caregiver or Caretaker, Which Are You?CAREGIVER: 1. a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled. 2. an adult who cares for an infant or child. –

It can be quite overwhelming when a loved one’s care is left up to us. Honestly, when I began caring for my mom 3-1/2 years ago I was filled with fear. Still coming off the emotional roller coaster of almost completely losing her to then adjusting to my new role as her caregiver; I remember wondering why on earth anyone thought I was even capable! Eventually though, my mom & I found a routine that worked for us & settled in. Not to say that I’m not still fearful sometimes, because I am, but I don’t allow that fear to dictate my actions anymore.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was that same fear that was motivating me to act as a Caretaker rather than a Caregiver. Instead of assisting my mom with only the tasks she was unable to complete on her own, I was doing everything for her. From fetching her something to drink to… well, we won’t get into all the details. Although I had good intentions & it made me feel good knowing that my mom was well-taken care of, my actions were actually hindering her recovery – & running me {& my kids} ragged in the process! By doing all of these things for her I was keeping her almost completely sedentary; & we all know sedentary is bad.

I was lucky enough to have good counsel right when I needed it. My therapist pointed out how important it is that I allow my mom to do the things she is able to do on her own. Also, that I only do for her & assist with the things she cannot do on her own. That’s what Caregiving is. Of course, it’s best done with healthy doses of compassion, empathy, & patience! By Caregiving rather than Caretaking, I’m helping to ensure that my mom will be around as long as possible.

It’s understandable that we want to go above & beyond for our loved ones, especially when they’re ill. It’s important though, that we look at the big picture to assess whether or not our actions are in our loved one’s best interests. I find it helpful, in any situation, to evaluate my motives. When I first began caring for my mom my motives were fear based. Are yours?

Are you a Caregiver or a Caretaker?

*ALWAYS check with your doctor if you have medical concerns or questions.

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow

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