All of us have been at the giving or receiving end of care in our lives. Our first caregivers are our parents who start caring for us from the time of conception and in many ways throughout our lives. For some of us, having caregivers be a part of our daily routine is essential for getting through the day.
My name is Isabel Duncanwood. I am 46 years old, I have Cerebral Palsy and a neuromuscular disease causing me to have severe physical disabilities. Because of the nature of my disabilities, I get weaker as I age causing a decline in my physical abilities. I have been dependent upon in-home caregivers for the last 26 years and I have a learned a lot about interpersonal relationships.
“Caregivers have a servants heart, they want to help others thrive in life.”
Caregiving can be both difficult and rewarding. It is always recommended that the caregiver and their consumer not develop close relationships with each other for their own protection. My question is, how is this possible? Caregivers spend so much time and energy involved in the lives of the people they care for, that it is impossible not to form some kind of a bond. Caregivers have a servants heart, they want to help others thrive in life.
For three of the last 26 years, I lived in a dorm room. I was eventually able to get my own apartment and live independently with the help of caregivers who worked 24 hour shifts. It our wasn’t until then that I really understood the dynamics that occurred between my caregivers and myself. I found that communication was important. I had to learn how to communicate my desires, needs, and wants in an assertive way while not coming off as rude. I believe that mutual respect is formed out of the bond built between two people learning how to communicate.
Giving and receiving care is a learning experience for everyone involved. Learning how to receive care is hard for some people and can also be difficult for the caregiver. Caregivers are there to help consumers, but when we refuse help it can be frustrating to them. Caregiving is rewarding when the caregiver sees the positive impact they have made in their client’s life, such as making it possible for their clients to live in their own apartment.
Kudos to caregivers. Thank you for all you do.