How would you react if someone told you they were a caregiver? What do you link caregiving work to? Often, the reactions caregivers get are mixed – those who have had caregiving experience before are often kinder as compared to those without.
The better comments caregivers get include: “That’s a noble and respectable job”, “That’s work that requires much compassion and patience”, “You have a kind heart.”
And then there are those that are more sceptical, with responses like: “That doesn’t pay a lot, does it?”, “Oh Does that mean you have to clean up filth often?”
These are some of the common comments those of us the caregiving industry receive in the course of our work, even when we run awareness events and talks.
Some comments can be disheartening, especially because of the lack of understanding about what caregivers do, given how they would ultimately be needed in one’s life: whether it is a family caregiver or a prfessional one.
With longer life expectancies and an aging population, the country’s need for caregivers is skyrocketing.
Families look for professional caregivers to help them provide the best care for their elderly relatives or those with health challenges.
However, despite being in high demand and providing priceless services, caregivers often remain unsung, quietly working their magic behind the scenes.
Caregivers wear multiple hats – from offering companionship to helping with daily activities and even providing medical care.
Their role extends far beyond just attending to physical needs; they’re a source of comfort, understanding, and a pillar of strength for those they care for.
In the course of our work, training and providing job opportunities in the caregiving industry, we get to see the behind-the-scenes work of caregivers.
We see how our students, who are often caregivers for their family members, make countless sacrifices to ensure the well-being of those they are caring for. Some even work for less pay or no pay.
They often juggle their own careers and personal lives, are sometimes not able to pick up their children from school, skip meals, and even miss their own birthday and other celebrations to provide care.
Despite their critical role, caregivers often find themselves undervalued and underappreciated. Many work long hours for modest pay, often without benefits or job security.
The lack of recognition can lead to feelings of frustration and disillusionment, and can take away from the incredible work they do day in and day out.
Some caregivers say that they have been called a glorified maid and been told to do domestic cleaning work even though that’s not part of their job.
With all the stories we’ve heard and feedback we receive, we realise that as a community, we need to create a support system that acknowledges the demands of caregiving.
It’s high time we appreciate these essential service providers and give them the respect they rightfully deserve.
Recognising the contribution of caregivers isn’t just about acknowledging their hard work – it’s about creating a supportive environment where caregivers can thrive.
The Malaysian Association for Social Care Professionals and Homes aims to provide caregivers with access to proper and quality training, mentorship, and resources for managing stress. All this can make a world of difference.
By valuing their efforts and offering fair compensation, we can ensure that the caregiving profession attracts and retains skilled individuals who are passionate about making a difference.
So, the next time you meet a caregiver, take a moment to express your gratitude – because these everyday heroes are the heart and soul of our communities, and our families.
This article was contributed by The Malaysian Association for Social Care Professionals and Homes (MASOC CARE). For more info, contact 011-3301 9681 / email@example.com.