In this blog, which will be divided into two parts, I wish to discuss the role of care in the family. The Maltese family is typically united by strong ties of care and affection, where family members often feel a sense of obligation to take care of other members of the family in moments where support is required. These ties of care and affection often come into play when, for instance, a family member is unwell or injured, when caring for young children, when family members grow older, or when caring for persons with disability.
These expressions of kindness and care towards one another can be a beautiful and intimate part of family relationships especially when these are received with appreciation. These can also provide family members with a sense of safety in knowing that they will be taken care of by their loved ones in moments of need. It is a reassuring thought knowing that loved ones will be there in times when you might need their support.
The role of care in the family can include supporting a relative with a variety of tasks, such as shopping, preparing food, cleaning, accompanying them to appointments, providing company and providing emotional support. Individuals generally do not provide caregiving in isolation from other roles and responsibilities in their lives. This means that the personal life of a person who is caring for a relative may sometimes intersect with caregiving in different ways and in different times. Thus while it may often be a rewarding and enriching experience when caring for a close loved one, it can be a difficult challenge to strike a healthy balance between the role of a caregiver, and that of being a spouse, partner, parent, employee, and community member amongst other possible roles.
Considering this challenge, in the second part of this blog, I will write about the caregiver wellbeing, and also discuss some ideas and practical tips that might support a person who is caring for a relative.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.