A carer’s experience by Sandy Bröcking

Or is it just about life? Caring for someone with a disability, for me is not caring-it's sharing. It's about sharing a life that is very different to what "normal" people expect. A life that can be very challenging and frustrating, but exciting as well.

- Sandy Brocking

Having worked as a nurse for many years, finding myself in the role of a carer still threw me completely. Suddenly I was confronted with a situation I was briefly taught about when training to be a nurse, but something that I had never experienced in real life. Being a carer is like working an endless "crazy" shift with no break. I also recognised that this "crazy" endless shift is not only my shift but that the person I am caring for faces the same, and most of the time, a much worse experience.

After being a carer of some years’ experience I have to say that it can be the greatest challenge for your nerves, is extremely demanding on your flexibility and worry can become one of your best friends. On the other hand, being a carer opened my mind. I learnt how important flexibility is. I learnt how flexibility, and even more importantly creativity, can help to ease difficult challenges. Both of them can create some new exciting challenges, or make you see things from a different point of view.

One of the most important things I learnt is to be open and honest and to tell the truth. Be open with the person you are caring for, tell them how you feel. Tell them about your worries. You are a carer, it is your right to do so. 

Listening is good and listening a lot is even better but telling the truth is very important as well. By talking to each other you may often find that a lot of misunderstanding has occurred between you and the person you care for. While misunderstandings can create a lot of stress for "normal people", for you and the person you are caring for misunderstandings can all too often lead to avoidable outbursts. 

Listen and ask the person you care about why he or she behaves this way in a particular situation. Don't force anything but always be open-minded. Make sure you understand each other. Talk and listen! 

Sandy has written a book, think smart & lose weight. For information about Sandy and her book visit www.thinksmartandloseweight.com

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