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How to describe "caring" - Carers UK Forum

How to describe "caring"

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I was asked over the weekend to describe my overriding feelings as a carer.

Isolated. Lonely. Regretful.

I was sad that they are all negatives. I can definitely thinks of some positives but I'm afraid the negatives outweigh them so those were the three words I chose.

Anyone want to add their own three words?
I would argue that, by defnition, caring is only 'negative' as we would all prefer the caree, young or old, not to NEED care.....

There may be 'byproduct positives' so to speak - I think one of our regular posters here says how she has, after many years, come to a closer relationship with her mother after taking on her care, so I'd call that a 'byproduct positive'. I'm sure there are others, too, but overall, as I say, unless we are talking about the level of parental care a healthy child needs until they are say 18 (?!), we'd prefer our carees not to need us to care for them, we'd prefer them to be independent.

(I could add my own three words, but as anyone who knows my (oft repeated!) beef (!!!) you won't be surprised to hear them as very negative indeed, and disproportionately so, therefore perhaps not very helpful to this discussion.)

However, I'd be interested to read of a different take on the whole issue of caring, as perhaps there are positives that are 'actual positives' and not merely 'byproduct positives'. Perhaps an 'actual positive' might be the 'glow' that humans get from helping each other, which is very worthy, and extends, of course, far beyond the caring role under discussion here, but still embraces it as part of the general definition of 'humane-ity', that we experience whenever we act compassionately.
...sorry, lost the last couple of words ...that should be 'whenever we act compassionately and with love'.

PS - just to say that my own negativity is based only on 'elder caring'.
I'm a father first, and a carer second.
So, as I never really went into life with any overblown expectations, I find that caring is a bit like breathing, something I don't think about much but is very much part of me. I can understand people who are carers not even wanting to wear the badge, but there are so many people who have helped my son along his journey, ( and it isn't an easy one) who I wouldn't have met if I hadn't been willing to ask for help. Many of them just signposted me, and probably have no idea how much I valued their advice.
ladybird17 wrote:I was asked over the weekend to describe my overriding feelings as a carer.

Isolated. Lonely. Regretful.

I was sad that they are all negatives. I can definitely thinks of some positives but I'm afraid the negatives outweigh them so those were the three words I chose.

Anyone want to add their own three words?
Exhausted is always the first word that springs to mind with me! I think I'd add relentless. And then I think it would be 'stressful'. Or perhaps, 'badly paid!'.

It's funny, because I'm not able to differentiate between being a mum and being a carer. Obviously you care for your kids anyway, and that can be exhausting whatever age they are, for different reasons. But I think the caring side of it brings a different set of challenges that are probably fairly common for a lot of carers. Dealing with 'the system' (or in our case, avoiding it as much as we can because it stresses me out so much) is probably one of the hardest aspects, along with a lack of understanding (from other people), a lack of cash (due to not being able to manage a full time job and care) and just not being able to do the things that other people can do easily is tough for me.

Being a mum, on the other hand, I can think of only positive words for that. I love him to bits, he's without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me. But I do feel my own life had to really be shelved because of his disability (or perhaps more exactly, because of a lack of help and support from others because of his disability).

So I suppose I'd have negative words about caring but positive about being a mum, although I can't really separate the two out which is odd!
I do think your feelings about being a carer are very much influenced by who it is you care for. I care for my elderly Father, but actually I also care for my adult son who has Asperger's & learning difficulties but I never really think of that when I think of being a carer - like Scally and mumwhocares, I'm his parent and caring for him, whatever form that takes, is just part of the job spec!

I really just wanted to see which three words sprung to mind for others - I was put on the spot and those were the words I came up with.
Ladybird, I agree. When my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I became his 'carer' in that I wasn't the patient, so I had to be 'something else' when it came to forums, doctors, etc. But I didn't feel like his 'carer' at all, because I was really just his wife still, albeit one that was also now a researcher and an advocate. Even when I did become his carer, for the last few weeks of his life, it felt absolutely nothing like the caring I do for his mum. I was desperate to care for him then, as he was bedbound and increasingly incapable. I wasn't in the slightest resentful or isolated or any negative thing at all (just terrified!).

It's quite different looking after his mum. She doesn't need 'medical care' she only needs 'housekeeping' and 'cooking for' and 'keeping company with'......but it is NOT something I enjoy doing, so it is onerous.

Of course, with my husband, it was only for a few weeks, which is nothing compared to what I know from reading here many of you have to cope with with badly ill husbands who are ill/disabled long term/indefinitely. His mum, by contrast, could easily last another ten years, and that makes all the difference to the 'load' that caring entails.

I suspect all of us could care without stress 'short term' .....it's the ongoingness of it that is so wearing. 'Relentless' is a good term for it!

Perhaps if I had another word to add to the list it might be 'stymied' - when I'm 'on duty' for my MIL (much, much less now, as she is rehoused locally thank goodness so I only have her at weekends and visit and take her out during the week several times)(tailing off I hope gradaully, as she adapts to her new place and gets used to it)....but when I'm 'on duty' my own life effectively stops (as I say, thankfully that is not nearly as often now!). Even in 'little things' like when I eat (too early!), and what I watch on TV (what she likes to watch!), etc etc. Small things in the great scheme of things, but it's HER life, not mine!

I think that kind of caring 'exiles' carers from their lives. We see others all around us getting on with their lives, and we are trapped in a kind of glass box with no escape. Our own lives go on hold indefinitely.
I've been ungracious, yet again, so apologies! Since she's been rehoused, my life has become immeasureably easier, and for short periods of time it's perfectly pleasant to spend time with her, and the evenings are even enjoyable (days are a bit frustrating, as I have so much to do, and yet I can't really get on with it when she is with me.....)
I agree with Jenny. My life is on hold. I live half my week living away from home to care for my dad and the other half I go home to my husband. We have very little social life as he spends his time tired due to health issues and a stressful 13 hour a day job. When I go home I spend my time on 'catch up', washing, ironing, vehicle serv and repairs, sorting finances, doing the garden, list is endless as you all know. So time for social, huh!!!! Holidays? What are they?

I think my words would be UNGRATEFUL, THANKLESS and STRESSFUL. Sadly, all negative, but I look after an elderly person. I fear he only represents where most of us will end up. With an attitude!!!!!

Take care all.
When I was doing it: exhausting, plate-spinning, relentless

And looking back, having lost Dad: it was a 'privilege' to get to know him, I 'learned' a great deal about myself and my capabilities, it's taken its toll physically and emotionally but I've ended up a 'stonger' person for the experience.