What is a Caregiver?
A caregiver is simply someone who gives care to others. Caregiving might involve anything from helping an elderly parent organize their medications to providing round-the-clock care for a disabled child.
A caregiver might be the mother of an adult with special needs, a husband or wife caring for a spouse with a chronic illness, or an older adult looking after a sibling with dementia.
A caregiver does not need to be a family member. They may be a friend or companion of the person. They may give care 24/7, a few days a week, or on a part-time basis.
The Unique Challenges of Caregiving
Often, a caregiver doesn't have medical training, though may be expected to:
- Take on a new role that you feel completely unprepared for. You may never have pictured yourself in this situation, and you're not sure how to handle it.
- Be available round-the-clock.
- Be an advocate.
- Devote large amounts of time, energy, and resources towards managing complex medical care.
Caregivers often feel overwhelmed, especially as a loved one's health gets worse. The demands of providing care can feel all-consuming, especially if you're still working, under a financial strain, or have other family obligations. Caregivers may experience stress, anxiety, depression, and physical health problems.