When children, work and household duties cease to be the center of your world, it’s time to focus on you and decide what brings you joy. For some people, jet-setting around the world and participating in leisurely activities is what would thrill them. However, others find happiness doing something they consider meaningful that fulfills their self-purpose. Their next step needs to make a positive impact on others.
Take care of yourself while you take care of others
People who help others often have happier and healthier lives themselves, according to research from the University of Texas. The National Institutes of Health cognitive neuroscientist Jordan Grafman said, “Those brain structures that are activated when you get a reward are the same ones that are activated when you give. In fact, they’re activated more when you give.” When you care for others, it echoes back to you, which in turn makes you stronger in mind and body.
According to a recent New York Times article, people are living longer and healthier lives, which mean many older adults are starting new careers or jobs and staving off retirement. The article also explained evidence shows that working keeps older adults happier, healthier and more mentally engaged. Whether you decided if you want to continue working full time or just work part time, caregiving can be a rewarding and fruitful career.
Caring for seniors
While you could devote your time and efforts to animal shelters, food pantries, libraries, etc., consider becoming a caregiver or companion for an older adult. Almost 90 percent of people over 65 years old want to stay in their home for as long as possible and 80 percent believe their current residence is where they will stay, according to AARP. However, in order for older adults to remain safe and happy at home, eventually most will need help with everyday activities. As a caregiver or companion, you can assist them with preparing meals, driving them to their appointments and other household tasks. Specifically, caregivers also may provide hands-on care in bathing, grooming and getting ready for the day.
A major part of being a caregiver/companion for an older adult is engaging and interacting with them. About 43 percent of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis as reported by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco. By listening to a senior’s stories, flipping through their photo albums and enjoying their favorite songs together, you can help older adults feel appreciated and accepted. You can also create new memories together by asking them to teach you something: how to play a card game, cook a specific dish or play an instrument. The care you show them is reflected through meaningful experiences like these, plus you may learn a new hobby or skill.
When you are a caregiver/companion, you also help a senior’s family. You can provide respite care and give family members a break from their caregiving duties. They can then take care of themselves – running errands, visiting friends or relaxing – and be a more effective caregiver for their parent, grandparent or older loved one.
Being a caregiver/companion for an older adult can be extremely rewarding. When you create a bond with an older adult, you are making a lasting, positive impact on them and yourself.
At ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care, our mission is to improve the quality of life and level of independence for every client and family receiving our services. Our caregivers and companions support seniors in their homes with everyday activities and non-medical care.
If you would like to learn about being a caregiver/companion, visit http://content.comforcare.com/caregiver-opportunities.