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The rewards of being a carer

More and more people are having to care for others, particularly in light of the current situation. In this article, we speak to a few carers to find out how they feel about the work they do.


There’s probably never been a more crucial time to be a carer. With the country in lockdown, carers are having to take on even more responsibility especially if the person or people they care for are classified as vulnerable. Here are some reasons why carers find taking care of others so rewarding.

Need to feel needed

Being a carer has many aspects to it but the one that can come as a surprise is how rewarding and satisfying it can be. Humans are hardwired to take care of each other. This is why counsellors find their work so rewarding.

The sense of giving something—in this case, time—to someone else is immensely enriching. We need to feel needed but sometimes that only becomes apparent when you undertake a caring role for someone. That was the experience Mary had when her husband of 40 years developed Parkinson’s Disease.

“I thought I would hate it when my husband finally received his diagnosis. Perhaps because we never had children, but I found it’s given me a new purpose in life,” she says. “It has brought us closer together in the final chapter of our long marriage. I’m not just caring for him I am finding rewarding but also finding out all about the condition. So it’s been quite an education.”

Giving something back

Jane, whose mother-in-law has dementia, says being a carer is a way of giving something back to her loved one.

“[My mother in law] is the person who brought up my husband and he’s such a kind caring person it’s all thanks to her and the way she raised him”, she says. “So even though sadly she probably doesn’t know who I am anymore, taking care of her is my way of giving something back to her in gratitude for her giving me such a wonderful husband! And I’m so glad I am able to do that.”

Being a hunter!

With the lockdown, carers are having to take on extra responsibilities for shopping and other chores as they may be the only person who is able to leave the home. This, though, can also bring unexpected rewards.

Gillian cares for her mother who has Multiple Sclerosis. She told us: “I feel like a hunter going out to forage for food! That thought keeps me going when I’m stuck in a slow-moving queue at the supermarket. If it was only me I’d be happy to live on crackers and water but because I’m doing it for someone I love it feels very worthwhile.”

A new respect for health

Caring for others inspires carers to take care of themselves too. Rosy is a carer for her husband Bill who has Rheumatoid Arthritis which as an autoimmune disease puts him at greater risk if he catches the virus.

Rosy says: “Before the lockdown having to take care of Bill gave me an excuse to go to Yoga and Pilates classes every week because I wanted to keep fit and well so I could look after my partner. If I was on my own I probably wouldn’t bother.”

She adds: “That’s an unexpected reward of being a carer—you have someone else who depends upon you totally which means you’re inspired to take good care of yourself as well so you can be there for them as much as possible.”

Clap for carers

In these times, the whole country is getting behind carers by clapping for them and key workers each week at 8pm on Thursdays. It’s wonderful that carers’ contributions are being recognised this way as the work they do is so important. So if you’re a carer, know that when the country claps for its carers, people are clapping for you!

If you care for someone with a disability, the Motability Scheme could help. Click here to find out more.
 

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