Becoming a caregiver for a loved one can be a strange experience, as they become solely reliant on you, and your relationship changes.
When it comes to family, it’s natural to feel as if you should be the one taking care of them in the instance that they are no longer able to themselves.
However, what many first believe will be just a few additional tasks a day, like helping them out of bed, is actually so much more.
Despite this, with the correct training, taking care of your elderly loved at home can also become one of the most rewarding things you can do.
This week, Acoup spoke to Joanna, who completed our 120-hour training course as she chose to change her career and began full-time elderly care for her grandmother.
Here is her story:
Why did you become a caregiver?
Becoming a caregiver is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on in my life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I feel like I see people providing care for their elderly loved ones all the time now, especially since the pandemic I see videos and posts all the time about it.
People on social media like Chris Punsalen, his videos caring for his grandma on Instagram and TikTok are incredible, it’s amazing to see that relationship.
But when I first made the choice to care for my grandma, Ellen, it was completely foreign to me, and I didn’t know anyone doing the same.
My grandma and I have always been close, ever since I was a child. My parents both had great careers, so my grandma stepped up to essentially become my full-time carer/nanny/babysitter as a toddler and growing up, so I guess the roles were reversed when I became her caregiver as an adult.
The time we spent together during my childhood was incredible, she was always so energetic, so full of life, and made everything we did seem as if it was the most exciting thing in the world.
For some reason, as many of us do, I never really considered that she would get older, and one day that energy and excitement might fade. It was when I first returned from university that I saw a difference in her, even though I had seen her for holidays during that time, I hadn’t been around her long enough to notice how getting up was more of an effort, or how her hands shook when she lifted a cup of tea.
It was a few years later that she fell, a simple slip on a wet floor tile that saw her break her arm and fracture her hip, and from there she was never the same again.
Coming home from the hospital, I was by her side 24/7 to ensure she had all the help she needed, but soon it became apparent that she would never recover to the point where she could live on her own anymore.
Discussions about care homes briefly came up, but neither me nor my parents could bear the thought of making her leave her home.
It was then that I decided to take care of her full-time, moved into her home, and began working part-time while also being her home companion.However, her senior care quickly became my full-time role, as I tried to get my head around how to make life as easy as possible for her.
How did you become a caregiver?
Initially I struggled, I had never even thought about how to lift someone carefully out of bed, what limited mobility feels like, or how it must feel emotionally to lose your independence.
The course I took at the Acoup Training Institute was such a breakthrough point, as I finally got the insight and expertise I had been missing.
Showing me the best homecare practices, how to conduct personal care and simulating real-life scenarios, the course also allowed me to ask the questions that had been in my mind for weeks and get the advice I really needed.
As for my grandma and I, after the course we had never been closer, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that caregiving gave me to spend so much time with her in her final years.
I think it meant a lot to her, and definitely to me, that she was able to spend her last couple of years comfortable and being cared for in her own home. That was something really special.
If you are interested in becoming a caregiver, you can sign up now to one of the many training courses at the Acoup Training Institute (ATI).