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.

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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Four ways you can help a loved one who has been arrested.

The arrest of a loved one can be a hard problem with which to deal. While you might feel helpless, there are certain things you can do to help.

The arrest of a loved one can be a hard problem with which to deal. While you might feel helpless, there are certain things you can do to help. Below are four ways you can help a loved one who has been arrested.

Keep Contact

While the old trope of only having one phone call isn’t exactly true, your loved one may not be able to contact everyone he or she needs to speak to while in jail. If you can get his or her permission to do so, you can work to update those who need to know what’s going on. This might include helping to cancel appointments, getting in contact with employers, or just keeping other friends and family members in the loop while he or she is in jail.

Contact an Attorney

You can also help your loved one by being a point person in contacting an attorney. While he or she will have to do most of the work, you can start making phone calls and putting out feelers. It might also be up to you to take a few initial steps like gathering up paperwork or helping the lawyer get in contact with others who might have an interest in what’s going on.

Posting Bail

In many cases, the most important thing you can do is to help your loved one get out of jail until the trial. This will mean posting bail, which will, in turn, mean speaking to a bail bonds service. While this isn’t something you should take lightly, it’s absolutely the right thing to do if you know your loved one will make his or her court date. Working with the right bonding company will help to ensure that the process moves more quickly and that your situation can be resolved more easily.

Helping with Court

While you might not be an attorney, you can help your loved one when it comes to court. You can make sure that he or she always has transportation to or from the courthouse and that he or she will always be able to dress professionally while there. These little supports might not seem like they mean much, but they can make a huge difference for those going through the legal system.

You will play a vital role in helping your loved one make it through the difficult period during and after he or she has been arrested. Whether you post bail, help find an attorney, or just provide a point of contact, your help will make a difference. While you can’t solve his or her problems, you can be an important source of aid during this trying time.

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Friends Are The Ones You Can Turn To, Forever And Always

Friends will always have your back. They are forever.

Friends are people who you can rely on in any situation. They’re the ones you go to when you’re in a tough spot or when you have news making you jump for joy. Whatever the situation is, they’re with you through thick and thin; from meltdown to breakthrough.

Without friends by my side, I’d be a lost puppy. I wouldn’t be able to find my way through life, even if the path was the yellow brick road. Even with life perfectly laid out, there are still countless more roadblocks to come. Leaning on these people helps you overcome them. You have friends for a reason, so help each other by sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life has so many shades that you never know what the day will bring, but talking it through with someone you trust clears the air. It brings light to even the darkest tunnels.

Being abroad is difficult because you don’t have the people who you’re used to relying on. With them being millions of miles away, everything feels so different. When I first got to Florence, I was aching to be back at college because I already had my people. However, now that I’m getting ready to board a plane soon, I’m feeling torn. I want to see everyone at home, but I’ve made some amazing friends here who I can’t bear to leave.

Being able to make friends in any situation you’re thrown into is a huge advantage because it expands the network of people you can go to. Friendship is about being there, even when it hurts. I can’t say it enough; my friends are the reasons why I am who I am. I’m not drowning because of them.

Friendship is having someone to sit in a room and watch Netflix separately on your own laptop or laying down in silence with the occasional laughter as someone shares a meme. It’s about celebrating Christmas two months early without realizing it, and making sandwiches after the bar, while you casually break an egg on the ground.

It’s fighting over when to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade, only to laugh about it the next day. It’s having that one person who will be with you in silence. Reading a person’s body language shares more about the bond you share than the words out of their mouth.

Friends are the people I go to in any situation because I know that they’ll be real with me. I can always count on them to have my back, even when I’m in the wrong. They will always be there for me, regardless of the mess I am. I’m so grateful to have every single one of them in my life.

Once you find someone you trust with your life, don’t let go, because you’ll regret it. The bond you share will go beyond the grave; it’s forever.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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