By Ruth Patil - Operations Manager at Carers Worldwide
Caring for another person is one of the most important and potentially life changing experiences we can have. Most of us will provide care for a relative or friend at some point in our life and in turn, all of us are likely to be in need of care during our lifetime, either temporarily or on a longer term basis. The impact caring has on both the carer and the person receiving care cannot be underestimated.
The key to successful care that can sustain and be positive is ensuring that the needs and wishes of both people participating in that care are placed at the very centre of the relationship. In other words, we must start from a place of dignity in relation to each other.
This means listening to and learning from each other. It also means placing equal value on the needs of both the carer and the person being cared for. Those in need of care have the right to receive that care in a way that respects their rights and wishes. In turn, the carer’s needs must also be taken into account: someone who is exhausted and with no time to care for themselves will soon become burnt out, no longer able to provide care as well as they would like to and as well as their loved one deserves.
At Carers Worldwide, we have found that working with families as a unit helps to promote dignity on both sides of the care relationship. Making sure the wellbeing of carers is supported re-establishes their energy, self-esteem and capacity to care. It restores their dignity, in turn giving them space and time to keep dignity at the core of the caring relationship. In the words of a carer from Bangladesh, “I had totally forgotten how to laugh before. Everything was a chore. Now I am a lot happier and so is my daughter. I am privileged to look after her but I have time for myself as well. Now we can continue.”
To learn about the ways Carers Worldwide promotes the emotional, physical and economic wellbeing of carers and to read stories of dignity in action, visit www.carersworldwide.org