By nature, caregiving is a stressful and thankless job. Oftentimes, caregivers do not receive a fair amount of appreciation that they deserve for their hard work. Nonetheless, many caregivers still consider caregiving as a rewarding career choice that can have a direct impact on oneself and the lives of others. Even though popular media and scientific research often emphasize the negative aspects of caregiving (e.g. stress, loss of social life, exhaustion, burnout), there are many benefits that come with being a caregiver, which makes it more fun than exhausting as a job.
Caregiving increases a person’s sense of compassion
Caregiving essentially teaches caregivers to be compassionate. Compassion is a necessary ability that most caregivers learn to cultivate in the process of caring for other people, especially those who are old and sick. Compassion is what allows caregivers to connect emotionally to their care recipients and have a better understanding of their situations.
When caregivers learn to become more compassionate, they also tend to learn how to do their responsibilities more effectively. Caregivers with an increased sense of compassion do more than just assisting or supervising their recipients. They form an emotional bond with them, which makes the latter feel more cared for, loved, and understood. This improves the ability of caregivers to recognize the meaning and significance of their job.
Caregiving provides satisfaction and happiness
Caregiving increases positive emotions, such as satisfaction and happiness, among caregivers. The act of caring for others particularly releases a feel-good neurotransmitter called as ‘dopamine’ from the pleasure center of the brain, which puts the people in a positive emotional state called ‘helper’s high’. It is the term used to refer to the uplifting feeling that people generally feel after doing an act of kindness.
Because caregiving is essentially an act of kindness, caregivers are generally prone to this so-called ‘helper’s high’. The act of caring for others brings caregivers a different kind of satisfaction and happiness. It makes them feel good about themselves and the world around them, and it keeps them from focusing on their negative emotions as much as possible.
Caregiving can improve a person’s health
Despite the general assumption that it is a tough job that can cause stress, depression, and fatigue, caregiving actually brings a number of health benefits to caregivers. For one, according to several international studies, helping others can increase the lifespan of a person, reducing mortality by as much as 20 to 40 percent. Because caregiving is essentially a job about helping people who are old, sick and incapable, there is a great possibility for caregivers to have an increased lifespan.
In addition, caregiving is beneficial particularly to the physical health of caregivers. Because caregiving involves a lot of physical tasks, from carrying groceries to lifting patients, it allows caregivers to be active and mobile all the time. As a result, they stay physically fit during the course of caring for other people.
Caregiving makes life better for the recipient and the caregiver
Caregiving ultimately improves the quality of life for both the care recipient and the caregiver. For the former, having a caregiver makes it a lot easier to accomplish day-to-day activities such as eating, bathing, toileting and walking. For the latter, caregiving makes life more active and fulfilling.
In caregiving, no work is superficial. Everything that a caregiver does makes life better not just for himself or herself, but for somebody else most importantly. Caregiving generally brings a great of sense of purpose to the caregivers. It allows them to see their worth as individuals, and it makes them view life in a more optimistic manner.
Overall, caregiving is far from easy, but there are numerous reasons why it remains to be a rewarding job. A caregiver’s journey usually consists of a combination of negative and positive aspects. There are days when the responsibilities of being a caregiver can be too overwhelming and exhausting, but there are also days when they can be fun and fulfilling. Ultimately, caregiving is a journey worth taking. It is not just a job, but also a commitment that has a great significance and a deep impact on the lives of many people.