Yes. Many family caregivers say it is the toughest job they ever had, and the most rewarding. Dedicating yourself to an elderly relative, spouse, partner or loved one certainly affirms your loving nature. Caregiving often helps reorient a household (or neighborhood or community) around matters of enduring value, such as faith, prayer, and love, rather than the material issues that often dominate home life. Once the dependent person dies, people who helped to care for him or her generally are more confident that they have "done well." They have "been there" and know what the person went through, and that they, the caregivers, were loyal and trustworthy and kind. Family caregiving usually saves the family money, too. Round-the-clock service by a combination of a nurse and an aide would cost upwards of $50,000 per year.
Adapted from The Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness, by Joanne Lynn and Joan Harrold, copyright by Joanne Lynn, used by permission of Oxford University Press.