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The Caregiving Role

CaregiverTaking on the role of caregiver may mean having to make changes in your social life, work schedules, stretching time and money, chronic fatigue, uncertainty of what the future holds, extra strain on you, your family, and those you come into contact.

Your family’s lifestyle and your own, will change. It may mean less time to spend with your spouse or children, revised work and home schedules, increased emotional and physical stress which could result in a weight gain or loss, depression, chronic colds or fatigue, tardiness to family, work, or social related engagements.

Taking on the role of caregiver is not an easy one. ... Adjustments, time, and understanding are a must.

Caregiver Defined

A caregiver can be defined as someone who gives assistance to another person who is no longer able to perform the critical tasks of personal or household care necessary for everyday survival

'Caregiver' (US, Canadian usage) and 'Carer' (UK, NZ, Australian usage) are words normally used to refer to unpaid relatives or friends who support people with disabilities. The words may be prefixed with "Family" "Spousal" or "Child" to distinguish between different care situations.
Terms such as "Voluntary caregiver" and "Informal carer" are also used occasionally, but these terms have been criticized by carers as misnomers because they are perceived as belittling the huge impact that caring may have on an individual's life, the lack of realistic alternatives, and the degree of perceived duty of care felt by many relatives.

A widely-accepted definitions of a caregiver/carer are:

Someone whose life is in some way restricted by the need to be responsible for the care of someone who is mentally ill, mentally handicapped, physically disabled or whose health is impaired by sickness or old age.

A caregiver can be defined as someone who gives assistance to another person
who is no longer able to perform the critical tasks of personal or household care
necessary for everyday survival.

Caregiving Role - A Love Story

Alzheimer's care - Part 1 

Alzheimer's Care - Part 2 




What is a Caregiver?

Simply stated, a Caregiver is just a name for all those family, friends or relatives who care for or about another person. There are also the professional Caregivers.

Each person responds to the crises, demands and pressures of caregiving in his/her own way. Whether you have moved into the role of caregiver suddenly or gradually over time, you may feel alone, unprepared, and overwhelmed by what is expected of you. These feelings, as well as other emotions — fear, sadness, anxiety, guilt, frustration, and even anger are normal, and may come and go throughout your time of providing care. Although it may not seem possible, you will also experience the unanticipated gifts of caregiving — forgiveness, compassion, courage — that can turn hardship into hope and healing.

Caregivers have told their stories and eloquently conveyed their feelings of isolation, helplessness, anger, grief, guilt, and frustration. Generally, They all speak of the need for better solutions for themselves or for their peers, the current caregivers.

More importantly, Caregivers need to understand that they are not selfish, unfeeling individuals. On the contrary, Someone in a caregiving role is seen as a courageous person brave enough to speak in open forum about their problems which are so personal and yet are amazingly common to all who undertake such responsibilities.

Who Do Caregiver's Care For?

The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old Baby Boomer woman with some college education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring for her mother who lives nearby.

  • Female caregivers provide more hours of care and provide a higher level of care than male caregivers.
  • Almost seven in ten (69%) caregivers say they help one person.
  • The average length of caregiving is 4.3 years.
  • Many caregivers fulfill multiple roles. Most caregivers are married or living with a partner (62%), and most have worked and managed caregiving responsibilities at the same time (74%).
  • Most caregivers (89%) are helping relatives.
  • Nearly 80% of care recipients are over fifty with the other 20% 18-49.
  • Caregivers who help someone age 50 or older say the most common health problems the person they care for has are diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • One quarter of caregivers helping someone age 50 or older reports the person they care for is suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, or other mental confusion.

6 Steps to Successful Caregiving

    1. Give yourself a break!
    2. Take a crash course in the disease.
    3. Seek family assistance.
    4. Implement financial and legal planning.
    5. Join a support group.
    6. Take advantage of community resource


What Others Caregiver's Have Said

"Self-sacrifice by the 'Carer' is very counterproductive - the 'Cared-for' person will not be able to help if the Carer has a mental breakdown"
(Carer, ACT, Australia)
"One day I was feeling down - sitting there looking at my wife who didnt even seem to know who I was, thinking about the holidays we had and the holidays we had planned but wouldn't have. I asked her if she would like a cup of tea. She looked so happy, smiled and said "yes, please". I felt so good that I was able to make her happy and I thought I'm not going to make myself sad thinking about what we can't do; I'm just going to enjoy these moments that we can have and enjoy. Doing this helped to keep me going while I looked after Julie before she passed away"
(Carer, NSW, Australia)
"My husband was very helpful around the house and he did a lot of the housework. I suppose that I was used to this help. Now that he can't remember what he is doing and can't help, I am finding it very difficult to have to do everything. This is one of the hardest things to get used to. My daughters left homne years ago and now it seems that I have to spend the rest of my life doing everything around the house myself. I was expecting retirement to be a time we could both enjoy. Not a time to look after another 'Child'. He has changed with the grandchildren too. He loves having them come to stay and they would always find something to make or fix in his workshop. They all enjoyed these times together. Now he has stopped doing this and they aren't sure what to do about it. I've explained dementia to them and they understand what is happening. They still find the changes difficult to accept. He's changed from the loving grandfather to a friendly stranger for them"
(Carer, Qld, Australia)