Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around families, togetherness, and gratitude. Caregiving can be difficult at times, but it is also rewarding. Aging may present physical and mental limitations, but it is also a time for pause and reflection at a life well lived. As with life, there are challenges but there are also millions of things that we should be grateful for, from big to small, ordinary to extraordinary.
Here’s a story from one caregiver whose perspective changed as she developed an attitude of gratitude, as written for CareGiving with a Purpose:
“When I was caring for my elderly mother, I was often exhausted and stressed. I had caregiver stress and was close to burnout. My sister helped me by giving me some much-needed respite. Including finding me jokes or telling funny stories about her family. Laughter was indeed the best medicine at that point.
In a moment of reflection, I started giving thanks for her. Her love and compassion meant more to me in those dark hours than I can ever express.
Amazingly, I found as I gave thanks my caregiver stress reduced. Initially only for a moment or two, but it was enough. And I started finding other things to be grateful for. Small things that might not mean much to anyone else. They helped. Leading to giving thanks for bigger things. I felt a major shift in my energy. Giving thanks enabled me to change the negative circumstances into something positive.”
So we’re listing 45 things that people affected by homecare can be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We welcome you to post a comment with your own list of things you’re appreciative of.
1. The opportunity to repay your loved one for all they’ve done for you.
2. Small, everyday happy moments shared with your loved one.
3. Quality time you’ve been able to spend with your loved one(s) at home.
4. The familiarity and comfort of home instead of an impersonal, institutional setting.
5. The peace-of-mind you offer to your loved one.
6. The ability to know first-hand what your loved one’s needs are and now to help them.
7. Finding resources online like Homecare Advocate to help address caregiving issues.
8. The ability to comfort your loved one in ways only a trusted companion can.
9. Knowing that your local Office on Aging is there to help you.
10. The ability to “be there” for your loved one when they need you most.
11. Peace of mind knowing that someone is giving your loved one the care they deserve.
12. That your voice matters to your elected representatives, and you can help shape homecare policies through your vote.
13. Medical technology and equipment that assists your loved one and reduces the physical strain for you.
14. Your friends and/or family who build you up when caregiving wears you down.
15. Knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life.
For Homecare Beneficiaries:
16. Being able to remain in your home.
17. Each day given to us that was not guaranteed.
18. Family and/or friends who love and support you.
19. Doctors who listen attentively to your concerns and help with ailments.
20. Medical advancements that treat illness and disease.
21. Informal caregivers, professional caregivers, and homecare companies who help you remain at home where you prefer to be.
22. Your senses that allow you to engage with the world.
23. Memories of life’s greatest moments.
24. Grace when memories fade.
25. The contributions you made in the world.
26. Lives you’ve touched and how that has compounded kindness over the years.
27. Your ability to make choices, big and small.
28. Assistive devices that make everyday possible in spite of physical limitations.
29. Random acts of kindness by neighbors, friends, churches, and communities.
30. Your role in creating history.
For Homecare Workers:
31. Being in a profession that makes a difference.
32. Seeing the lives of those you touch each day.
33. Having co-workers you can relate to that understand the ups and downs of your job.
34. Knowing other quality homecare companies you can build a network with.
35. The opportunity to be a voice of kindness to the patients you serve.
36. Having a job.
37. Knowing how to find resources to help a patient.
38. Peace of mind that your patient is being well-cared for.
39. (Sometimes unintentional) bonds formed between you and your patients.
40. Ability to explain complex medical conditions to patients in easy to understand terms.
41. Online resources and forums that educate about new approaches in health care.
42. Knowing that you are making someone else’s life better.
43. The ability to be a resource for someone in need.
44. A job in an industry that will only grow in the years ahead.
45. A job whose skills will be relevant to you and your family outside of work.
We’re thankful for you, our readers, and the homecare champions that make this world a better place. Happy Thanksgiving!