This week I was unable to walk for four days. During that time I began to see life differently from the perspective of somebody who felt helpless and who had to depend on others. It also helped me realize specifics about being a healthy care-giver, and what was required to support the caregiver.
Last month a friend had surgery and I served as caregiver. I realized that as much as I enjoyed caring for him, I still felt relieved when he was asleep or when I had a chance to take a break back into my own life. The more I balanced myself, the better care I was able to give to my friend.
During my own recent injury I observed my own caregiver giving his all and then assertively asking to leave so he could re-group and recharge his inner batteries. Since I had already experienced my own need for this while caretaking, it made perfect sense to me, and I was happy to have him leave so that I could re-group also. Always when he returned, his energy, as well as my own, was much better, and the connection between us was fulfilling and beneficial to all concerned.
I highly recommend that all caregivers ensure that they have good stress management practices. Focusing on another person and taking care of them requires balance and stable energy. Whether the focus of attention is a child or adult, the caregiver must be totally present to do the best job, and this takes focused energy. Without proper rebalancing and de-stressing the required energy and focus is just not available.
After serving on both sides of care-giving, I realize the commitment one must have in order to serve another human in their time of need… and caregiver support is mandatory!