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What Does It Mean To Have A Meaningful Caregiving Journey?

In the same way that every individual is different, each caregiving journey is unique. A caregiver's role may have started out of desire, necessity or a combination of both, and it may continue for years or decades for the same reasons.

Caregiving is a deeply personal, often demanding position, which can make it easy for caregivers to become overwhelmed or fatigued. It also means that those in the trenches of caregiving experience an extraordinary bond with their loved ones that can only come from sharing intimate moments and shouldering each other's burdens.

At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we believe that serving others is a calling, and we desire to make each day as fulfilling and rewarding for those in our care as they are for us. For this reason, many of our communities offer respite care stays so that families and their loved ones can have the support they need to recuperate after an injury or illness or to recharge from the emotional and physical strain of constant care.

We also encourage families of our residents to visit frequently and join us in our community dining rooms for meals and conversations. Here are a few more ways that we feel caregivers can discover or reaffirm the meaning in their own journeys.

Enjoy the Everyday

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

In many ways, our attitudes shape our circumstances. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the seemingly unending nature of daily tasks, caregivers should try to focus on the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing chores, such as making the bed or washing the dishes. What may feel mundane can become a satisfying or even comforting routine through a shift in perspective.

Start a Journal or Two

Personal or prayer journals are an excellent way to organize your thoughts and emotions. They also provide a place to record victories, amusing comments and special things that have taken place during the day or week.

Caregiving by its very nature requires giving of yourself. When caregivers write down their thoughts, it can help them realize their own value and take time to reconfirm their identity. Caregivers can also benefit from creating a memory journal for their care recipient. A few examples of things that can be included involve stories about the past as shared by them or those who know them, traditions they practice around the holidays and facts about their preferences such as favorite colors, activities or books.

By practicing writing down these memories, caregivers can share them with other family members and preserve the information for the future. It also can help them keep their focus on the time spent with their loved ones and the ways that these moments have drawn them closer together.