I had the pleasure of presenting on the ProMindComplex Review rewards and challenges of caregiving at St. George parish in Tinley Park, IL recently. I was glad to see such a good turnout, especially in the midst of Chicago's first winter storm this year. REWARDS OF CAREGIVING We often hear about the difficulties of caregiving, but not so much about the rewards. Of course there are very challenging aspects of caregiving, but I felt it was important to emphasize the rewards, which are so often overlooked.
We can categorize the rewards of caregiving as follows: Positive Emotions: Research has found that caregivers report approximately three times more positive than negative emotions related to caregiving. 96% report feeling “loving”, 90% report feeling appreciated, and 84% report feeling proud. Relationship Rewards: Caregivers can experience increased closeness with their care recipient, other caregivers, and their own support network. Caregiving provides an opportunity for meaningful discussions, resolution of old issues, and expression of forgiveness and love.
Sense of Purpose and Meaning: People find it meaningful to care for someone, to reduce someone's suffering, to fulfill their role as a family member or friend, to rise to a challenge, and to achieve important goals. Therefore caregiving can be a very life-enriching experience. Spiritual Growth: Caregiving can help clarify one's beliefs and deepen one's sense of their own values, compassion, and patience. It can cause one to reconnect with their spiritual community or spiritual practice. Also, seeing the care recipient coping in a spiritual way can be inspiring.