A recent post on the AARP blog shared, quite beautifully, some lessons learned from caregiving.

We couldn’t agree more with this author’s reflections, and believe it is so very important as caregivers to share as openly and fully as possible. Even the most personal stories are universal in their emotions, challenges, struggles and high points. (We also think that sharing and being open can be good for your health!)

Here are some of the author’s top lessons learned from caregivers:

Get help. It can be wonderful when family members take care of their loved ones. But the reality is that caregiving can be a challenging role on many levels. It isn’t always possible or reasonable to expect one person to do it all. Reaching out for help is not only a nice suggestion, but also a key piece of advice tied to the physical, mental and emotional health of both the caregiver and the person being cared for.

 Take care of yourself. We can’t stress the importance of self-care enough. If you aren’t whole and strong and well taken care of yourself, you can’t be at your best for someone else. Part of taking care of oneself, for many devoted family members, is seeking out a professional caregiving agency or service to help and support the entire family. 

Value what you do. Caregiving is one of the most important roles anyone could fill, whether family or professional. As such, it is something to be valued and respected. That said, it can also be tough, thankless and frustrating. And for many families, it can be a long-term need. That’s why reaching out to professionals can end up being one of the most loving and effective “tasks” of caregiving you could possibly do.