Being a caregiver is one of the most important and personally rewarding roles a person will play in their lifetime.
Caregiving does not just have a positive impact on those who receive care, but on those who provide care as well. According to the Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family, 8 in 10 surveyed caregivers reported caregiving being a “positive experience,” while 80 percent of young carers (aged 15-29) feel their relationship with the care recipient strengthened during the caregiving period. Meanwhile, research has shown that caregivers find the work fulfilling, opens the door to new experiences, and strengthens their relationships with others.
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.
Feeling loved and building strong Relationships – Caring for others helps to develop empathy and the ability to connect with people, even in difficult times. In addition, 77% of working caregivers say being a caregiver has made them closer to their parents and/or in-laws.
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.
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.