Your Role as a Primary Caregiver

Caregiving often creeps up on you. You start by dropping by your mom’s house and doing her laundry, or taking your dad to a doctor’s appointment. You find yourself doing the grocery shopping and refilling prescriptions. Gradually, you are doing more and more. At some point, you realize you have made a commitment to take care of someone else.

Sometimes, caregiving is triggered by a major health event, such as a stroke, heart attack, or accident. Maybe you suddenly realize that dad’s memory lapses have become dangerous. Life as you know it stops, and all your energy goes to caring for your loved one. Caregiving has become your new career, and you adjust to a new normal.

The Caregiver Role

Caregivers can be spouses, partners, adult children, parents, other relatives (siblings, aunts, nieces/nephews, in-laws, grandchildren), friends, neighbors. Whatever your relationship with the person you’re caring for, it’s important that you add the title caregiver to the list of things you are. Without identifying yourself as a caregiver, you won’t know to search for resources that can help you navigate this new role.
 
But caregivers play other roles as well. You may be employed full or part-time. You may be raising children, or be a volunteer, a spouse, have other family commitments. Adding caregiving to that list can easily lead to frustration and exhaustion. You might need to navigate social service systems, call doctors while you’re at work, advocate for the care receiver, and take care of their day-to-day needs, while you try to do all of those same things for yourself and your family.

You are rarely trained to do the broad range of tasks you are asked to do as a caregiver. As a result, you may end up, for example, with back strain because you haven’t had the benefit of training from a physical therapist on how to correctly transfer…

This article was sourced from caregiver.org.

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