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A carer is an individual who offers voluntary support to a person to enable him or her perform the tasks that he or she is not capable of doing anymore or tasks that they have not been able to do on their own. This can involve taking care of one’s partner, child, parent, relative or even friend who is sick, mentally challenged, old or suffering from effects of substance abuse. Caring cuts across all cultures, ages, religions, races, color, educational background, economic status etc; people from all walks of life can become carers. This paper examines the challenges and rewards of being a carer for a family member.

No one chooses to be a carer; it just happens. After all, if they fail to do it, what would happen to that person they are caring for? It is the feeling of many carers that they are just doing what another person in their shoes would do. Caring for a family member usually happens even without the carer noticing. For instance, if a member of your family is unwell and you are the only person in a position to offer care to them. In case of an old family member, the carer will be required to dedicate his time to bathing, feeding and even helping them with toileting. Caring for old people requires patience and understanding because dealing with them can sometimes be difficult (Victor & Victor 2010, p. 172). Though it may be difficult at the beginning, with time one gets used to it and becomes like a personal assistant to that person, caring for him or her day after day. As a result, a carer’s life can be one that is severely restricted by the various caring responsibilities. These added tasks can be difficult, challenging, time-consuming or unrewarding, and more often than not, the responsibilities have an effect on the life of the carer be it economically, emotionally, financially or socially.

Caring for a family member comes with its rewards and challenges. Taking care of a family member can be draining both physically and emotionally. In an instance where you are taking care of a sick family member, you may be overwhelmed in the process of caring for them, especially when their health is deteriorating. Family members are dear to us, and when they become ill, it affects us as well. As a carer, your hope is that they will get better soon; no one would enjoy caring for a sick person only for them to die. It not only drains you emotionally, but you also feel that all your effort was in vain. Carers form a close bond with the person they care for; and because of this close bond, they get attached to that person such that if he dies, they are negatively affected emotionally. As a result, they might loose morale to care for people in the future.

Caring for a family member is also financially draining. It is not always that money will be available to cater for the needs of the person being cared for. And since, you are the one in charge of their care; it is up to you to ensure that they get everything they need, even if it means borrowing money or finding work to be able to provide for them (Moonie 2000, p. 75).

Besides the challenges of caring, it also has its benefits. Knowing that you are helping someone to do things that they cannot do on their own is in itself satisfying. In addition, as you care for someone, you get experience that will help you in the future, when faced with a similar challenge.

Conclusion

Caring for a family member can be a challenging and hard thing to do yet very satisfying. No one chooses to be a carer, it just happens. Finding yourself in a position where you are the only one who can care for them leaves you with no option but to dedicate yourself to caring for them. As much as you may get satisfied caring for a family member, the job also wears a person down both physically, emotionally and socially. It is important to exercise patience and understanding when providing care.

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