When I think of the month of February two things come to mind: Valentine’s Day and Heart Healthy Awareness month.
I would like to focus on the heart. Let me explain.
Caregiving requires many traits when you’re the one responsible for a loved one, no matter what the diagnosis might be. Among the many hats a caregiver wears, the most important part of that caring comes from the heart.
You’ve probably seen firsthand the nurse or CNA that loves what they do and how they interact with residents or patients. They have a heart for their profession; it’s a true calling for them. It’s the same for caregivers. You might be thinking right now that you didn’t volunteer for the caregiving role you have, it just happened. Well, you might be right, but I believe the right people are placed in that position because they have what it takes to be a caregiver. . .HEART.
I’ve met many caregivers over the years and I can honestly say I’ve never met one single person who was bitter or angered because they were the primary caregiver. True, they may have been caught off guard or felt dismayed that they were the chosen one, but in all honesty, they know deep down they have what it takes to persevere and get things done for the benefit of their loved one(s). Why? Because they have the heart for this role.
Does having the heart to be a caregiver make it easy? Not at all. In fact, it probably makes it harder.
When you’re in the role of a caregiver you have so many decisions to make and many of those decisions are downright difficult. For example: Do you move your loved one out of their home into an assisted living? Or do they need a memory care facility? Do they need skill nursing care? Will doctors change when their living arrangements change? Are more medications needed or do they need to eliminate medications? Is it time for palliative care? Hospice? Decisions can be heartbreaking.
As you can see, these are only a snippet of items needing decisions by the caregiver if your loved one is not capable of making their own decisions. Hopefully, you’ve taken care of the legalities by having a Power of Attorney for healthcare and financial decisions. If not, this needs to be done now.
Something I discovered while being a caregiver is how much of a heart I have for the elderly. They don’t have to be sick or have some terminal illness. I just have a heart for them. I found there are many people who don’t have families so no one ever visits them. Those are the ones I became attached to. Those are the ones whose eyes would light up just because I would take the time to acknowlege them and give them a few minutes of attention. They are the ones who made my heart overflow with joy.
Be heart healthy all year long.
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller