What advice would you give to those people who may want to become a care provider?
Don't ignore your own needs. SCHEDULE time for yourself, nurture yourself, build a support network for yourself.
Many care providers neglect themselves, and it's incredibly draining - especially if you're caring for someone who is terminally ill. Often, carers slip into depression, which isn't good for them or the person they are caring for.
Think about it. You are caring for someone who can't care for themselves. It's hard physically and emotionally. Don't underestimate your own needs for support!
I would advise anyone thinking of becoming a care provider to carefully consider whether or not they are capable, from a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical standpoint, of providing the level of care the patient is going to need. Depending on the patient, their personality/outlook and the care needed, being a care giver can be very taxing for even the strongest of individuals, so you should carefully think it through.
I am a full time caregiver for mentally and physically disabled adults and my best advice is to be patient. When people who are disabled act out and treat you badly, try not to get frustrated. You have to remember that they are disabled and don't see things the way you might.
I have had clients bite me, hit me, spit on me, call me horrible names, just generally make my job really, really hard. You can't get frustrated though, and you most certainly can't get even.
This line of work can be extremely exhausting both mentally and physically. Lifting people taller and bigger than you may be in your job description. You have to remember, no matter how intimidated you may be, they're twice as nervous. Uncomfortable changing an adult diaper on a incontinent client? They're probably embarrassed as hell having someone wiping their butt for them. Lifting someone heavy? Don't tell them they're heavy. Try to act like it's nothing, even though your back and knees are SCREAMING for relief. They already know they depend on other people to live, they don't need to feel bad about their bodies. Trust me, they probably already do.
This job isn't for everyone. But if it's something you are truly interested in, try it out. Make sure you lift with your knees, not your back. Wash your hands ALL THE TIME. Use a watch timer for meds. And be their friend. It makes life easier for both of you. I promise.
Hope this helped!
If you are going to care for a family member, be mindful of all the emotions you have tied to the person. They will behave badly, treat you as hired help, forget who you are to them, take their frustration at their disability out on you and not appreciate what you sacrifice for them.
To get around that, you have to objectify them as a patient and not the person you love. Schedule regular breaks from caring so you can maintain your own health and sanity.
If you are choosing this as a career, emotional distance is a must. While camaraderie makes the job more enjoyable, being mired emotionally in a patient who will move on (to another care facility or death) is costly on a personal level.
Talk to other care providers about how they detach while still applying appropriate job integrity.
I would advise creating a realistic job view. Knowing the job is difficult and sometimes thankless, but necessary and rewarding on its own is important.
Do it with your heart and treat every patient/client as if they were someone you love in the same condition.
Too many people forget to care while being a care provider.
Best of luck.
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