There is a plethora of categories under the simple name, caregiver. Caregivers are people such as nurses, police, firefighters, teachers, pastors, priests, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and nursing home staff, to name just a few. I think it is safe to say that one who cares for another can be labeled as a caregiver for they all have the incentive to care for others.

In my experience most caregivers have similar characteristics. For instance, they usually put other’s needs before their own, have a willingness to go beyond what is required and evidence of kindness in their speech and actions. They. smile often and yet know when a smile is not appropriate. They also know how to manage stressful situations as well as take care of their own needs so they can continue to take care of others. A caregiver believes in people and rarely judges them. Many have a profound belief in God and study him with enthusiasm.

In major disasters trained first responders run toward emergencies as is the case with firefighters, police and medical personnel. After the dust settles, others begin to come. Those whose hearts have been touched by the calamity of humanity. They are the ones who bring flowers, candles, notes of love and teddy bears. Then comes groups like the Red Cross to bring food, shelter and clothing.

When personal tragedies occur, like sickness and accidents, caregivers of all kinds come to give support with their presence and prayers offering their help in any way needed. Some stay for a little while and others stay until the emergency is resolved.

At large public gatherings, caregivers will often volunteer their help with smaller organizational needs.

EFFECTIVE CAREGIVERS WILL:

  • Pray for wisdom
  • Know and practice listening with saying very little
  • Love and accept everyone unconditionally
  • Know that sitting close by can send their love and energy to the hurting
  • Gently stroke a hand or put an arm gently around the person
  • Know how to read body language responding with care even if it means to walk away for a while
  • Be gently proactive in looking for ways to help

INEFFECTIVE CAREGIVERS WILL:

  • Talk too much, usually about themselves and their experiences
  • Tell stories that have little to do with the current problem
  • Say inane things like, “everything will be fine,” when no one knows for sure it will
  • Assign motives and have a theory about how this happened
  • Compare their own losses to the one for whom they are caring
  • Forget that their presence and listening are the greatest and most helpful gifts

At the end of the day, many people in trauma will not be able to express gratitude due to the intensity of their feelings. The effective caregiver will not take offense or try to get support from the hurting person but will look back over the day with gratitude at the many ways they were able to make a difference.