Being a Caregiver

What is a caregiver?

A caregiver provides assistance in meeting the daily needs of another person. Caregivers are referred to as either “formal” or “informal.” “Formal” caregivers are paid for their services and have had training and education in providing care. This may include services from home health agencies and other trained professionals.

“Informal” caregivers, also called family caregivers, are people who give care to family or friends usually without payment. A caregiver gives care, generally in the home environment, for an aging parent, spouse, other relative, or unrelated person, or for an ill, or disabled person. These tasks may include transportation, grocery shopping, housework, preparing meals. Also giving assistance with getting dressed, getting out of bed, help with eating, and incontinence.

If you fit the description of a family, or “informal” caregiver, you are not alone. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), estimates of more than 65.7 million Americans serve as informal caregivers either to a child with special needs or an adult who lives in the community and needs help.

Most caregivers (86%) are related to the care recipient with about a third caring for a parent. The average age of a caregiver is 49. Most caregivers are women (66%), but men also serve as caregivers. It is also a myth that most of the elderly are cared for in nursing homes in the U.S. Most long-term care is…

This article was sourced from Hopkins Medicine.

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