When we’re playing to our strengths, we are able to make the best use of our energy, our individual spark. This is something to consider when we care for relatives.

Writing with our dominant hand is second nature for most of us. It feels easy, our writing flows and we can express ourselves quickly. In contrast, using our non-dominant hand to write feels strange and takes a lot of concentration as well as more time. This principle can be translated to our activities when caring for a loved one.

Supporting Others with Our Strengths

I’m confident in supporting others by listening, carrying out personal care, shopping and doing practical household tasks. I’m also practiced at gentle hand/foot massage and being present. However, DIY, financial matters, technology and form filling aren’t my areas of expertise. When I’m in a caring role, it helps if my duties are geared around my strengths. If most of the time I’m required to focus on my weaknesses, I don’t do a very good job and it feels very unsatisfactory for both me and the person I’m supporting! This way of supporting is usually very short lived.

However, I’ve also developed new skills whilst caring for others. Supporting people at medical appointments, caring for pets, using equipment and driving adapted vehicles are all skills I’ve developed whilst supporting others. Trying new activities is well worth a go, especially if someone who’s skilled is there to guide and support us. We get chance to develop and add to our strengths. In this way, we can offer more the next time we’re needed to support another.

Using Time Wisely

When time is short and a loved one needs out support, playing to our strengths is a sensible way forward. We offer our best. Our energy is maximised. Our spark of individuality is utilised. We get satisfaction from the positive difference we make for our loved one and their need is met.

If you’re planning a relative’s support, it helps to have a team of people involved. This way, each individual can utilise their strengths and many different areas can be covered. If there are still gaps, consider how these gaps may be filled and who could help in your local community.

Each of us can do something for a relative in need of care. Identify what they need, match these with your particular skills and agree when, where and how you can best fulfil their needs. It’s a privilege and a joy to provide someone with something they need and our relationships grow and flourish in these circumstances.