Caregivers Community

Life Lessons from a Caregiver: Independence is a Treasure

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
07/01/16  2:08 PM PST
Life Lessons from a Caregiver

Special thanks to Veronica B. for sharing this touching story with valuable life lessons from a caregiver’s point of view.

Life Lessons from a Caregiver

Occasionally, as you journey through life, you meet someone who makes such a lasting impression and has such an impact on your life, that you’re never quite the same. Two very special ladies that I worked as a caregiver for fit that description well. A friendship developed between us that taught me valuable life lessons that continue to impact my journey.

There were many differences in the relationship I had with each lady.

One lady was in the early stages of dementia when I accepted the role of companion for her. She welcomed me into her home and in fact, treated me like a guest. Much too quickly, my role transitioned from companion to caregiver. Fortunately, before that happened,  a bond of friendship and trust had developed between us that made the journey through the progression of dementia as comfortable as it could be.

The other lady was struggling with the loss of independence that was being stolen away by Parkinson’s disease. At first, it was obvious she was having some difficulty adjusting to needing someone drive her wherever she wanted to go, prepare her meals and do the housekeeping tasks that she was accustomed to doing herself. She became more accepting of my presence when she realized that I was there to help her, not there to take control of her life. Together, we spent lots of time finding ways for her to retain her independence for as long as possible. When independence was no longer a possibility, she willingly accepted the assistance I provided. A friendship developed between us and memories were made that I will always treasure.

I remained a caregiver for both of these ladies until the time of their death. The lessons I learned from these women and their unique situations made a poignant impact on my life. Many times throughout the years of assisting these ladies, I was reminded that whenever I thought I was having a bad day, the perfect way to put my day in perspective was to realize that my bad days were better than their best days. They would have considered it a wonderful day if they could simply have gotten out of bed, gotten dressed and had breakfast without any assistance.

The unique experiences that these two caregiving opportunities provided has caused me to live with a greater awareness of how important it is to not only seize the day but to acknowledge, appreciate and enjoy the special moments that occur within each day. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to travel with these ladies on a portion of their journey through life.

Working as a caregiver taught me that earning someone’s trust is one of life’s greatest rewards. I also learned that life goes more smoothly when I make patience the key word for every day.

I’ve found that, regardless of how different the person or the circumstance may be, the following ideas apply to each caregiver situation and ultimately to each aspect of life in general:

  • Prayer helps.

  • Attitude matters.

  • Trust is a must.

  • Encouragement is motivational.

  • Niceness melts away tension.

  • Compassion promotes friendship.

  • Every friend is a gift.

  • Independence is a treasure.


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