Summary: Caregivers really make a difference in older adult’s lives. Your time with that adult may be the highlight of their day. Caregiving gives you a chance to gain perspective, learn from someone else’s experiences, and express your love.

As the elderly population continues to grow nationwide, so will the need for caregivers. While caregiving can be stressful, the role of the caregiver can also be very rewarding. A 2014 survey by the National Opinion Research Center found that 83% of caregivers viewed it as a positive experience.

Not only is the caregiver role important to our society, caring for an older adult can provide the caregiver a sense of personal accomplishment. Some of the more significant benefits seasoned caregivers often get from their caregiver role are described below.

As a caregiver, you really make a difference to an older adult’s life.

If you are a caregiver for a person that may need more care, your support is critical. With consistent, attentive and respectful care, you can help an older adult retain his or her dignity and independence during these later years.

If your caregiver role takes you into the home of an older adult, your arrival is likely to be a welcomed event. Especially if the older adult lives alone, your presence may bring a sense of security, good cheer, and companionship.

As a caregiver, your time and actions are often appreciated

Your visit may be the highlight of an older adult’s day. Your presence may also provide needed respite care for a spouse. You will be able to provide the opportunity for a family member to leave an older adult temporarily because of an emergency, other responsibilities, or vacation. And for family members who live some distance from their older loved one, your role as caregiver brings reassurance. You earn their gratitude and respect. The family trust you earn can be a source of personal pride and satisfaction.

The caregiver role can bring life into perspective for you.

Working with an elderly adult gives you valuable insight into the aging process and what’s to come. You have the opportunity to think about what matters most in life, and how you will take care of yourself, now and in the future.

In the caregiver role, you have the opportunity to witness and help another through struggles you would probably not otherwise. You may grow in empathy and may realize that relatively small acts of caring can have a tremendous impact on another’s well-being. Even under the most challenging circumstances, taking care of someone can have a powerful influence on your outlook, your relationships, and your life.

As a caregiver, you can learn from an older adult’s experiences.

Many elderly people have lived full and interesting lives. In the caregiver role, you not only learn from an older adult’s current experiences, you also learn from the knowledge and stories an older adult shares. You may take pleasure and learn from these stories that may be poignant, funny, and informative.

An older adult often has a vast store of knowledge to share and lots of time to share it with you. The rapport you may develop with an older adult can lead you to new ideas or skills, broaden your perspective on history and on the human experience. It can be a source of enlightenment, entertainment, and comradery.

The caregiver role can broaden your social circle in ways that enrich your life.

While some may think that a caregiver is only attending to the immediate needs of the person in his or her charge, the caregiver role can also open the door to new relationships & interests.

You may find this stimulating and fun. This social circle may include the older adult, his or her friends, family members and other members of the support team. It’s common for caregivers and other health professionals to share a commitment to helping others.

The caregiver role can be a fulfilling way to express your love.

If you are caring for a parent, spouse, or other relative or friend, caregiving can be an expression of love. As a family caregiver, you may experience a deep sense of satisfaction from giving back to a loved one. You may take pride in knowing that your loved one is receiving the best in personal care.

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