The Difference in Caring About And Caring For

A lightbulb moment was had in a professional development session that I was in today. While the discussion surrounding was providing care and life planning around specific disease groups, this is so applicable to life as an asthmatic or a person with chronic illness.

Firstly, we need to take a look at what the difference even is:
Caring about someone can be characterized as follows:

Caring About1
–  Having affection & self-esteem for someone or something.
–  Having a repository of knowledge about a subject matter. Like all those loved ones who know more than doctors, or at least as much.
–  Lifetime commitment. Those that are in it for the long haul. Think about all the people that are committed to you or your asthma.

Caring For1
– Providers that provide day to day care
– Providing material or financial support
– Those that advocate for support.

One person can need both

We have different people and different roles in all of our relationships and like many of you, I have been on both spectrums of being cared for and taking care of. Many of us wear a hat of both the roles at the same time. If you have been following along with my posts, you may know that I have had an interesting road building my relationship with my primary respirologist and finally figured how to evaluate this relationship. It’s like a huge lightbulb finally went off.

We have different people in our neighborhood and not everyone needs to share the same role. It is possible that I have wanted more out my patient-physician relationship than was probably realistic. What is the actual role that I need them to take on?  I needed to do a bit of soul searching on this one. I need them to be a partner in the repository of knowledge of my severe asthma and my care. I and my primary caregiver will probably hold the “repository” of knowledge about me, however I need my specialists to be the repository of knowledge on my disease, but we need to work together symbiotically. I think the lines get a bit blurred here, I need there to be some amount of empathy or need to feel valued. But really, I think there are things I expect out of that relationship that may fall outside the scope that I need to use other people in my care team for. In some cases, they may act as a sounding board or even providing emotional support. In some circumstances, this may be better suited for a support group, a therapy session or even a night out with friends. I need to come the terms that my doctor will provide guidance on treatment options and care but some of the needs that I think I have been seeking out of that relationship, I need to transfer elsewhere. Easy discovery but potentially more difficult to implement.

I am now on to creating a plan for those people in my care team or even my support team, so they can play different roles. I am even analyzing how I can reframe my questions or even needs from that relationship. Like most relationships, I think this is one that is ever-evolving especially during periods of remission or exacerbation or even identifying new normals. Has anyone else experiences this, what are your tips or best practices?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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