Sometimes, people need long term help because of an illness, injury, or disability. These are a few things I've learned through personal experience on multiple sides that mostly never get talked about. They aren't the only things out there, but they are important. Caregiving is an important and necessary role in life, and it is not easy. We may not get to choose whether or not we end up helping someone who needs it in this way. Caregiver fatigue is a real and legitimate thing.
Keep in mind:
- You truly can't take care of someone else if your own needs aren't being met. This counts for medical and volunteer staff, parents, spouses, siblings, friends -- anybody. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it's a necessity.
- When you are under the impression that you're helping someone, make sure you're actually helping. Are you helping in a way the person truly needs, making assumptions, or helping the way you think it should go?
- If you're performing this role for your own validation instead of being truly helpful, rethink your motivations and accept the possibility that maybe you need extra support or you and this position are not right for each other. I'm well aware that it's not always possible to change a situation, and I definitely understand how difficult it can be to ask for help for yourself, but do ask if you can. Unhealthy situations left to fester can become dangerous from anger and frustration.
- It is impossible to tell the quality of a caregiver's assistance only by their word. If you are in the position to, and it is at all possible, periodically check in with the person receiving help. They may not be able to tell you if something is wrong, but you might get an idea of any patterns that might be arising.