Uncovering how and why caregivers care

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Well there’s a place inside of yourself, in the sense of your own self worth, to be able to address a need that’s out there—and such a critical need. Often this isn’t just making soup for somebody because they’ve broken their leg and they can’t cook right now, right. I think the most important one is learning compassion. Especially, I think for me, around 2 things: partially the dementia and the compassion allowing or helping you to listen through the actual words—what’s the message behind it? What’s the real need that’s happening at this point? Because you can’t argue things out, and you can’t convince people who have dementia, right? It just doesn’t work. So you kind of have to just keep, in yourself, going “Okay, what’s behind this? Where is the real need and how can I meet that need?” And […] there’s another part of that compassion for me as well. It has to do with empathy. I mean, I really love the word compassion because it means together in passion, right? And so you’re stepping into a place where you’re sharing what is passionate for somebody else.  And in a caregiving situation, I mean, sometimes that would be around really joyous things—children and grandchildren and, and whatever that person’s particular passions were—but a lot of the time it is around their fear. The passion around their fear, their hopes for their lives that have been removed, have been taken away by their illness. Yeah, and for me that’s the most important thing—of being able to sort of walk into that place as much as possible with them and understand what the need is behind it […] and—maybe if it’s a sort of funny thing to say—is the best part of it. But I think, especially in this situation because our caregiving person is not somebody that I was a personal friend with, what I benefit from in doing this is my own growth and compassion.

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