What is a caregiver? The roles of a caregiver vary, but in the most basic sense of the word a caregiver is a family member, friend, or neighbor who takes care of a frail or disabled elderly person, or a disabled adult child. If you remind your dad to take his pills or drop groceries off to a grandparent, you are a caregiver. Often family members who care for a loved one, don’t recognize themselves as caregivers. But you are a caregiver, and the care you provide is invaluable to the recipient.
According to WomensHealth.gov most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. During any given year, there are more than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) who provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person 18 years or older.
But most caregivers don’t think of themselves as such. It’s important to give your role as a caregiver the value it deserves, and seek help for the many challenges you will face in that role.
Being a caregiver can be emotionally, physically, and financially straining. There might come a time when the needs of the person you are caring for, are more than you can handle. My family recently experienced this with my dear grandmother who eventually left us last year. It can be difficult to accept that you cannot do it alone, and place the care of a loved one in the hands of professionals. Fortunately there are resources to assist you in finding the help that you need.
My daughter cares for my mother in our home. She is responsible for all her doctor visits, meds and physical needs. It is very draining. I will share this with her. Thanks.
As an only child I know I’ll play the role of caregiver at least once.
Penelope (NYC Blogger) says
It is definitely a draining job that requires a lot of patience and compassion
Bergman Folkers says
Also, a heart that’s willing to care for people who needed it most. It’s the dedication for the profession.
laurie damrose says
Years ago,when my nana fell ill,my dad was there every day taking care of her,that to me is the true definition of a care giver,someone who is there just because they want to be.
Viv Sluys says
If/when my parents need caregiving they will be coming to live with me and my husband. Hopefully they will be well for many years to come since they are just under and just over 50 and both physically fit living healthy lifestyles but eventually they will probably need care I suppose
It’s amazing that that many women will be caregivers in their lifetime.
Kelly Stilwell says
It is such a hard job, physically and emotionally. I hadn’t thought about the financial difficulties as I haven’t had to deal with it yet. Thanks for this information.
My inlaws live with us and I can’t imagine having to make that decision…
My mom was caregiver to her mom for a couple years before she passed away. It was something that was very hard on her but something she wanted to do. Now, I find myself helping care for my mom – nothing major yet, just errand, medical appointments, etc. But, I feel like it’s my obligation and privilege to help out.
It’s definitely something to think about, even though it is a hard thought, that we will be caring for our parents. It’s certainly best to prepare.