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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Caring for the Carer

In our ageing society, there are more and more people finding themselves in the role of carer. This issue will become most significant as the ensuing years of this Century roll on. As a societal issue, never has it been more important to ensure carers receive proper support.

But this is not just about aged care.

There are so many who care for loved ones in situations where the ‘simple’ process of caring regularly pulls them under to the depths approaching burnout. It’s those who fear drowning that we must reach out to, and if we, personally, are involved in such ways, we need to know how to seek solace and respite.

When Others Are Carers

Caring for relatives with lifelong conditions can be chronically wearing, and there are advantages and disadvantages to the longevity of care; over the years the carer gets most accustomed to the role, but the years can also become spiritually tiring.

If carers are going to do their competent best, and deliver something of quality (implied, love) for which the cared-for are totally dependent, they need to be well-rested, supported and loved themselves. We cannot pull both ends of a piece of string and expect it not to snap.

We can say that carers themselves have responsibility for their self-care, but many times that’s an improbable and incomplete reality. Those of us who stand more distally to the situation—those of us who can—could consider even small advances of help.

Sometimes just knowing people are rooting for us is enough of a leg-up, provided the motivation of the giver is sincere.

When We Are the Carer

Many a parent knows there are parts of the child-rearing job description that were never highlighted before they started.

God is growing us up into the fullest of maturity in our roles as parents and grandparents; as we relinquish the rights over the vast majority of our time, energies and resources. But there does come a limit to how far we’re rightfully stretched.

Knowing and abiding to our limits is a wisdom initiative.

The assertively responsible carer, who’s interested in their personal sustainability, so as to effectively care for the person they’re caring for, will ensure they have their own depth of resources which underwrite their role; of a sense, insuring it.

They know that meeting the quality standards of their role is critical—and always will be.

So they ensure that early warning signs are well heeded, as they take their self-maintenance and rejuvenation processes seriously—making them close to number one priority. What is maintained well will serve both the carer and cared-for, for years.

(But it also has to be said that most people will learn best through trial and failure—for this residual guilt is a wasted emotion. We take it as part of the process of learning.)


It takes a special kind of person to fill the shoes of the carer, even though any of us—by life’s circumstances—can be thrust into the role. It is better to see that we’re all carers—either directly, or intangibly via the care we can issue a carer.

Besides, given societal trends, the carer is becoming possibly the most common of all roles.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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