10 Gifts Family Caregivers Give the World


10 Gifts Family Caregivers Give the World

During our gift-giving season, we often focus on the lists of gifts we will give or would love to receive. (We've got a list of 13 gifts to give a family caregiver.)

For this list, I thought it would be great to focus on the gifts that those who care give to the world. The gifts family caregivers give includes:

  1. The gift of commitment. During a time that stretches you as thin as caregiving does, the temptation to throw in the towel is great. Family caregivers hang on even as the towel shreds into threads. We hold on, we see it through. The commitment to care is a tough one. We tough it out. That commitment garners respect for what we do which transfers to collective respect for what all of us do.

  2. The gift of presence. We're there when our caree struggles and declines. Our hearts break at what we see. We stay, though, knowing that our presence brings comfort to our carees. As we stay present, we give courage to others to be present, too.

  3. The gift of solutions. Hand us a complicated puzzle with pieces missing. We'll solve it even bringing in pieces from another puzzle that shouldn't fit but do. The pieces fit because we make it happen. We're the best problem solvers which we means we can't help but help anyone in a pickle.

  4. The gift of laughter. It may seem that there's not much to laugh about when caring for a family member with a disease or illness. We know, though, that the most serious times in life provide the most opportunities for laughter. We take every opportunity we can to laugh. When we laugh, we live. Through our laughter, we bring life to others.

  5. The gift of grace. During a caregiving experience, we endure insensitivity from both those we know and those we don't. The comments and the actions hurt. We heal through our graciousness. Because we remain gracious as we stand up for ourselves, we have peaceful rest. In turn, we give others another chance to get it right.

  6. The gift of kindness. We regularly encounter professionals who practice medicine. We decide it's best to practice kindness. Because of our kindness, others receive our comfort, too.

  7. The gift of resilience. We get knocked down by bad news over and over. Maybe it takes us a bit to get back up. But we do. We get back up to do what we do best -- advocate for ourselves and our carees. That advocacy makes a difference for us today and for those behind us tomorrow.

  8. The gift of art. We create during our caregiving experience. Maybe our art won't make the walls of a museum. Maybe others will never see our art. Our hands, though, create beauty during caregiving. Every time we comfort and care, we make art. That art, even if it only stays within our homes, beautifies the world.

  9. The gift of perspective. We don't sweat the small stuff because we're battling the big stuff. What we do serves as a reminder to others about what's important in life.

  10. The gift of truth. We face difficult truths on a regular basis. We've learned that facing the truth is ultimately much easier than living in denial. As a result, our BS meter works well. We tell the truth. We demand the truth. However difficult it may be to hear and to bear, we know that that the truth will set us free. Because of this, we give everyone the space they need for their own truths. That gift of truth becomes the power of acceptance.

What did I miss? Please share the gifts you give to the world.

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Yes!! I love this one. We also empower each other by sharing stories and by pursuing our best lives during a life of caregiving.