Lessons from Caregiving

According to recent research by AARP, one in six of our co-workers is likely caring for a loved one in addition to work and family. This is a daunting prospect for most of us, but life is made up of moments, and there are some lessons to be learned from caregiving, which might in fact add value to the rest of your life.

Here are six lessons provided by Guideposts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the world to believe that anything is possible with hope, faith and prayer.

  1. Self-care first.

This will mean different things for different people, encompassing any/all of the following: consistent sleep, adequate exercise, recreation, good nutrition, stress-reduction techniques and a sense of humor.

  1. Mistakes are fixable.

Perfectionism can handicap the efforts of caregivers, making every task a drudgery. Instead swap the perfectionism for self-compassion, because according to psychotherapist and author Anne Wilson Schaef, Ph.D., “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.”

  1. It’s okay to not be okay.

Experts and experienced caregivers agree it’s not healthy for caregivers to wear a “I’m fine” mask and suffer alone. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit this. It’s a sign of bravery. Ask for help.

  1. Compassion helps.

Caregiving teaches and nurtures compassion, the mother of all virtues. If we all used a little more compassion in our lives, the world – and caregiving – would be in a much better place.

  1. Practice mindful communication.

Old family dynamics can often add stress to caregiving situations, making clear and open communication essential. Listen. Speak. Observe nonverbal cues.

  1. Make room for hope.

The point of caregiving is holding hope between you and your loved one, despite the minutia of tasks — doctor’s visits, medications, meals. Or maybe because of. Hope is the reward for patience and kindness, and hope “never asks a crumb” of you.

Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” is an apt metaphor for caregiving and can provide a meaningful daily meditation.


New Dates Available for Train-the-Trainer
The Wisconsin Caregiver Academy has scheduled new train-the-trainer sessions through July 2021. When taking a train-the-trainer course, employees can become state-approved trainers for assisted living providers. This eliminates the cost and burden of having to bring in outside trainers into your facility to train staff. You, an employee or a consultant can become a state-approved trainer!

See All Dates by Topic:

Medication Administration
Standard Precautions
Fire Safety
First Aid and Choking