Monday, January 11, 2010

Define Caregiver, by Iris

A new friend Iris, and fellow caregiver wrote this amazing description of a caregiver, and she has allowed me to share it with all of you!

Caregiver's Window Seat

Anyone with an ounce of humility often scoffs when called a caregiver. "I am only doing what I am supposed to do," or "I love my (parent, child, spouse), so of course I'm going to do what I can" are the typical responses. So how does one know if he or she is a caregiver?

Definitions vary, but the common thread is, if you are caring for someone in some way, that aids in their well-being, you are a caregiver. Assistance may come from near or far, may be done in your home or the loved one's home, may be provided 24/7 or only on occasion.

Care usually involves helping a person with tasks that are typically done independently. Tasks can range from checking in by phone, running errands or shopping to cooking, cleaning, handling documents and bills, or aiding in day-to-day physical care needs. The amount of time and tasks done related to caregiving are as varied as each individual.

Caregivers vary in age depending on who they help. A child may actually take on the responsibility of seeing that a parent with mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction receives necessary care. A parent may have to care for needs of a physically challenged child. An adult may check in on a neighbor regularly by carrying mail or a newspaper to the door. Others may care for an aging parent by ensuring the environment is safe and that the parent is cared for in his or her own home or some level of facility care.

Regardless of your caregiving status, take pride in knowing that you are not just doing what you are supposed to do. Accepting the title of "caregiver" doesn't mean you do something because you have to; you do it because you love the other person.

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