Being a carer can be hard work, and at times, may seem like a heavy burden on one’s life. Because of this, some carers might find it helpful to focus on not the negative, but the positive outcomes it may bring for them. While doing so won’t reduce the hardships of caring, it can nonetheless give carers a new way of viewing their role to help them get through tasks.
Providing a new sense of purpose: Being a carer for your loved one may give you a sense of purpose and enrichment in your life. According to the American Cancer Society, it can do this by providing you with a ‘deep sense of satisfaction, confidence, and accomplishment’ as you are able to be useful to your loved one. Further, you may come to find that you are suited to helping others, and are developing new, long-lasting skills and abilities that you did not know about previously.
Gaining support: As a carer, you may also gain a strong sense of support from those around you. For example, you may form new friendships or connections with others who share similar experiences, such as members at support groups. Being a carer may enable you to find common ground with others, build relationships with them and develop a trusted support system. Additionally, you may also become closer to your family in seeking their advice and assistance.
Giving back to loved ones: Caring also enables you to give back to another person, particularly if this is a parent or family member who has played a role in looking after you in the past. Through providing care to them, you can demonstrate your gratitude for all they have done for you. Of course, you may do this in other ways, but by caregiving, you are showing your love and respect by providing ongoing assistance to the person in their time of need.
Spending time with your loved one: Caregiving can help you to realise the value of spending time with your loved one. This is beneficial as your loved one’s diagnosis may have made you more aware of the fragility of life, and consequently, of the need to enjoy their presence. Therefore, through caring for them, you naturally give them your time and attention. When you are with them for long periods of time, you may even get to know them better than you did before and develop a heightened appreciation for their company. This is backed by claims from carers who said they had grown closer to their loved one in the process of caring for them.
Gemma Crotty is a volunteer blog writer for Solaris Cancer Centre from her home in Melbourne. Currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Communication at La Trobe University, she is considering a career in communications or journalism. Gemma has a strong humanities research background from her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Sydney. She has a keen passion for writing and likes to find new ways to hone her skills and connect to others through her words.