By Carla Chavis
You do not always know your purpose or calling in this world at first. It is often a journey of ups and downs, trial and error, and even some mistakes. But when you realize your purpose, your path becomes clearer with every step. I am happy to share some lessons learned along the way.
Embracing my Calling
Caregiving has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. I became skilled in high school, working at a convalescent center and, several years later, working in a hospital for three years as a nursing assistant. I also assisted with caregiving duties for my parents, aunt, uncle, and sister-in-law. Caregiving has always been a passion, but it would be years before I pursued it as a career.
Nothing ever stopped me from being a caregiver for my family members, no matter my career or location, and I continued to care for them well into adulthood. While living in the Washington, DC, area, I still took the long drive back home to Ohio to care for my parents on weekends. This love for caring for others also translated into caring for my niece when my sister-in-law was away for a Bone Marrow transplant, all while I was pregnant with my daughter. I am so happy about this experience because it showed me that I love caring for others.
After being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic while working as a contractor for a law firm as a Patent Record Specialist, I went back to working retail full-time in 2021. I quickly realized it was not where I was supposed to be and that caregiving was the answer. In pursuit of my passion, I started working as a caregiver for a company and soon realized I could best provide the high-quality care I am passionate about giving my clients independently. I soon became a Certified Caregiver and began working for myself.
Providing the Best Care
The care you give is important. Caregiving is a unique and special gift that takes patience, love, and kindness. Embracing caregiving is in the details of what you do daily. It means observation, diligence, being mindful of body language and how you speak, and having a true sense of the needs of the person you care for.
Providing the best care also means working with the best. Working with an experienced caregiver as you build your knowledge and skill set can make all the difference in how you care for others. As good as our intentions can be as caregivers, knowing how to handle day-to-day tasks is vitally important. If you do not know how to do something, a rich, vital community of caregivers can mentor you.
Giving empathy and realizing that we, one day, may need the same care and love is also vital to providing high-quality care. Truly reflecting on how you would like to be treated should you ever need this level of care will put you in the right mindset to care for others.
More importantly, caregiving is a family affair. Being a great caregiver also means you become part of the family, and they entrust you to provide the essential care required to help them improve their quality of life. This level of trust should be embraced, appreciated, and held close to your heart.
Setting Boundaries and Self Care
The same passion you have to care for others, you should also have for yourself. As caregivers, we tend to give our time and energy to the point of exhaustion. I know it comes from passion and the desire to do the very best for the person you are caring for. But you must also remember there are boundaries that you must have for yourself. Without self-care, we cannot give our best to those we care for. Never feel bad about taking the time needed for yourself as a caregiver. Your medical, physical, and emotional well-being is essential.
Being the best caregiver is ultimately about doing your best, giving yourself grace, and loving what you do on good and challenging days. On those difficult days, when you feel burnout approaching, take a deep breath and even take a break. But always remember the blessing you are for someone! You are changing someone’s life for the better!
Continue to follow our caregiving blog series at https://www.drjeanneporterking.com/caregivers-corner/