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What is a Caregiver?

What is a Caregiver?

What it Means to be a Caregiver

Caregivers are a vital, yet often overlooked part of our health care. They are people who provide personal care and comfort for those who cannot care for themselves for various reasons. Common reasons include chronic illness, poor mental health, and old age.

They provide long term care to a care recipient and are tasked with helping them with daily living. They are expected to perform tasks that include but are not limited to grocery shopping, basic daily medical care, emotional support and scheduling and helping the care recipient attend medical appointments.

So, what is a caregiver? The term “caregiver” is quite broad as to who it applies to. Many of them are a part of and/or associated with National Alliance for Caregiving and many others work for and with medical institutions and nursing homes. However, the most common of them are how to become a caregiver for a family member and friends.

Both care recipients and caregivers need a reliable support system; this is why it is primarily done within a family as opposed to being outsourced.

Caregiving may sometimes be split between family, respite care, and adult day care.

A Look at the Role

As mentioned previously, caregivers are responsible for a number of important tasks in the care recipients’ daily life and personal care. These tasks may vary depending on the care recipients’ needs.

Basic tasks include: grocery shopping, scheduling, and helping the care recipient attend medical appointments.

Some other more demanding tasks may consist of: preparing food, helping the care recipient perform basic functions such as eating and movement, emotional support, and regular physical therapy.

Caregiving is very much ingrained into one’s daily living for both the caregiver and care recipient.

However, the demanding nature of homecare does not go unnoticed and steps are taken to ensure caregivers are well taken care of.

Respite care is an opportunity for the primary giver to take a short break regularly

Caregiving consists of a symbiotic relationship between a caregiver and care recipient, and a lot of time and effort can go into finding that perfect match.

What makes Caregivers so Important

Caregivers can vary from hospital workers, to nursing home workers, or family members and friends. And they all have an increasingly important role to play in health care and our society as a whole.

Adults 65 and older account for 16.8% of the current population in America, and disabled people make up 13% of the population.

As the largest population, nearly half of the country faces some sort of chronic illness and many of these appear with age. With each of these percentages expected to rise within the decade home care becomes an increasingly important part of life.

Efforts from organizations such as National Alliance for Caregiving, caregiving among friends and families is becoming more accessible.

Being a caregiver is by no means easy and it requires a lot of passion and attention, however it’s extremely important and the work will be well worth the time.

Care recipients face a lot and a caregiver’s support can mean the world whether it’s in the long term or a simple physical rehab.

How Can You Start Your Journey?

  • National Alliance for Caregiving: The NAC focuses on improving quality of life for family caregivers and their care recipients, they have a number of helpful resources on their website.
  • Volunteer Locally: Don’t be afraid to check around your area for nursing homes and medical facilities. Many of these facilities accept volunteers and will be a good way for you to learn about and get comfortable with home care.
  • Check your State Regulations: Many states have their own requirements and regulations to become a caregiver such as training and experience. See what you need to become a caregiver and seek out the right classes and training required.
  • Start Small: Once you are certified as a caregiver you may want to look for posting within your community or ask around within your family and friends. There are often local forums and Facebook groups that will provide such postings. Trust is a big part of home care and keeping it local will allow you to build and maintain trust easily.
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