11 Things Being A Caregiver For My Family Has Given Me In Return

11 Things Being A Caregiver For My Family Has Given Me In Return

I don’t take care of my family for the recognition from others, I do it because I love them.
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I currently help take care of my uncle who has Down Syndrome, my great uncle who has chromosomal miscounts, my grandmother who has had three amputation surgeries this summer and my grandfather who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

I have had many opportunities to learn as I have helped take care of my family members.

I want to share the lessons that I have learned, especially with those that take care of others.

1. Patience Is Important

There are days when I forget that my family members are older than I am. Sometimes, they cannot move or think as fast as I can. There are days when we don’t get along, even if it's over something that's unimportant.

Regardless, I love my family and have had to learn to be patient with them.

I also remind myself that they are patient with me.

2. Communication Is So Much More Than Spoken Words

Both of my uncles can be very difficult to understand verbally at times and get frustrated because of it.

Instead of increasing their frustration I have learned different ways to communicate with them.

Pointing, drawing and acting out what is needed or wanted are all ways that we can communicate without speaking.

3. It's The Little Things That Matter

My uncle loves coloring, and seeing his face light up when he has drawn something for me is priceless. My grandparents will often bring home treats for me when they’ve gone shopping.

Even just a hug will make my day.

4. Remember To Tell Your Family That You Love Them

This seems obvious if you are taking care of them, but it is important.

Caregiving may show that you care, but it means less if you forget to express it verbally.

Again, the little things matter.

5. There Will Be People Who Don't Understand Why You Choose To Be A Caregiver

Why would someone choose to take online college courses instead of moving on-campus?

Because my family is important to me.

Because of this, I decided to further my education while still helping them as much as I possibly can.

6. It's OK To Doubt Yourself

I’ve faced situations when I’ve been insecure about my abilities as a caregiver.

Life is unpredictable.

There will be situations when you don’t know what to do, and that's OK.

7. It's OK To Ask For Help

When you become overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

It is better to ask for help and feel a bit stupid than to struggle and regret your decisions later.

8. There Will Be Days When You Need A Break

If you don’t occasionally make time for yourself, you will get worn out.

Even if it’s just going to the grocery store by yourself, find a way to get away.

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of those you love.

9. You Will Wonder How Much Longer You Have With Your Family

I have seen my family members go through extremely difficult health problems. It’s scary when you're faced with knowing that you could lose them at any moment.

Don’t give up hope or the memories you have of them.

10. Stay Humble

While it’s nice when people tell me that I’m inspirational for taking care of my family, it's also embarrassing.

I don’t take care of my family for the recognition from others, I do it because I love them.

11. You'll Never Regret Time Spent With Your Family

There are days when I disagree with my family members, days when I wonder how much longer I’ll have with them and days I just shake my head. Yet, I don’t regret any of the time I have spent with my family.

Being with my family through the difficult times is what has made us stronger.
Cover Image Credit: JaelAnn Hoover

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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The Power of Good Roommates

Find the people who make you laugh til you cry and move in with them.

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Going to college super far away can be hard especially when you do not know anyone going to that school. Picking people to live with is terrifying because you never know what is going to happen and everyone hears horror stories about roommates.

But when you finally get roommates who you are friends with, who you spend time with, laugh with and are overall great roommates, it is a totally different game.

I have had my fair share of roommates (living with six different people within three years of college) both pretty good and pretty crappy. It was not until recently I got three new roommates that I learned how powerful having great roommates can be.

I feel that I am a relatively easy going person so I have happily picked random roommates (all but once) but never really clicked with the people I was living with until now.

The three most recent roommates that I have have been by far the most influential and amazing roommates I've had yet. They support me, make me laugh and always include me with everything. There are days where we do nothing but lay on the floor and tag each other in videos on Facebook even though we are less than two feet away from each other.

But most importantly it amazes me how much good roommates can change your overall life.

I used to be a person who rolled through the motions, got stressed WAY too easily, was easily upset and would try way too hard to live a perfect life. But now I am more easy going, I laugh a whole lot more, cry a whole lot less and am comfortable going with the flow. And most importantly HAPPIER.

The very first night one of the new roommates moved in, she knocked on my door and asked me to go bowling with her and some friends (one which was another one of our roommates). We went and I didn't know anyone but had such a good time. Before this night I would sit in my room and not talk to any of my roommates because they were friends while I was not very close with them.

Flash forward a month to day…

Two of us were home and both wanted to go out as a group and both texted the other one to come home so we could all hangout. We are always laughing and smiling, telling jokes, checking in on classes or just how the day went. I used to never want to leave the house or my room but now I feel weird sitting in my room and not being with them.

The greatest part about meeting these people is that I know when we all move out of the apartment in a month I will still have great friends.

You may have roommates that you hate, you may have roommates that you "live with" and you might have roommates that you love. There is so much power in finding people you click with, so I challenge you to find those people who make you want to dance around the living room and laugh until you cry.

Cover Image Credit:

Isabel Parent

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