“I think initially you don’t know which way you’re heading, you don’t know where to start or where to finish…”
Ruchita, an entrepreneur, talks about her caregiving journey which began when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The role of a caregiver, for Ruchita, is that of an all-rounder. They have to juggle all sorts of tasks and roles. Since she is a caregiver for her parents, Ruchita notices how it often feels as a role-reversal; sometimes she has to be loving and sometimes stern— just like they had to be for her. In the end, it’s about giving back unconditionally.
Ruchita talks about how the caregiving journey makes one mentally strong— one begins to understand what their care receiver is going through and so manages to maintain composure.
“And you just don’t know how your routine is going to be, your schedule is upset. You know, everything kind of goes haywire. So, I think it’s literally like making a new start.”
She suggests doing things with them that they like, be it something as simple as vegetable shopping. It’s important to maintain a happy surrounding for the care receiver to recover faster. This could be through inspiring music, watching comedy or having kids play games with them. Throughout all this, it is also important to not treat them like a patient.
Ruchita mentions her struggle to give time to herself: having to actively learn how to take a backseat or suffer burnout. She advises caregivers to avoid assuming that their self-care is less important and will be taken care of on its own.
She reflects on an emotionally tough time that she went though when she was introduced to Caregiver Saathi and acknowledges Bhavana (Founder and CEO of Caregiver Saathi) as especially instrumental in giving her a sense of direction. Ruchita learnt that it was okay to ask for help and give work to other people in the family. She passes on this advice, encouraging caregivers to learn to segregate and assign tasks to others without guilt.
If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.
Sharing your story helps understand yourself — feelings, passions, hopes. It lightens the load and offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, anger or guilt. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.
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