Sunday, December 28, 2008

Definition: Caregiver

  1. An individual, such as a physician, nurse, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, or treatment of an illness or disability.
  2. An individual, such as a parent, foster parent, or head of a household, who attends to the needs of a child or dependent adult.
I found this exact definition on three or four different sites. Seems a bit anemic to me!!!!!

So, I thought I'd share what I think a caregiver is.... would you define "caregiver"???

A caregiver is someone who cares for another, whether their needs are emotional (depression, bipolar) or physical (blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic illnesses), whether it is just a little bit (1-2 hours a week) or a WHOLE LOT (24/7)!!!!

I recently talked to someone who said that they weren't a caregiver yet, but knew that someday soon they would be. After further discussion, I learned that this lady was talking about her mother. She knew that someday soon, her mother would need 24 hour care. She told me that right now, all she does is take her mother to the grocery once a week, helps do some light housework and calls or visits daily to see if her mother needs anything and if she has taken her meds. Well, I informed her that she already was a caregiver for her mother. She said, "I really don't do that much."

Whether long distance or short, whether a lot or a little, your family dynamics change. You find yourself thinking of the other's need, finances, aches, pains more and more. You may think "it's just what family does for one another" but it's not always the easiest thing to do.

If someone depends on you to meet a need in their life, you are a caregiver. For many, this happens before we ever realize it. At some point, we go from finding phone numbers for our children, to finding them for our parents. We go from reminding our children to take their medicine, to reminding our parents to take theirs!!!

It's funny when you think about it, but not too funny!

If you have children at home, and are caring for your parent, you are part of the sandwich generation!!! What if you help your parent, have a child at home and care for your disabled spouse???? That's a "double decker sandwich"!!!!!

There are 44 million caregivers in the US. And, while there are varying degrees of care involved, we are doing a great service to our nation and to those we serve.

Yeah, well, now you know that not even a caregiver can define the word caregiver!!! LOL


WhiteStone said...

God calls us all to be caregivers of some sort or's just that some are called to greater and deeper care giving than others. I value your perspective even tho my care giving is (currently) lightweight.

Grammy said...

Dear Friend,
I happened upon your blog when I was reading the "about me section" of Clara's Corner blog. She is a follower of your blog.
I, too, am a caregiver of my husband who is in the early stages of dementia (or Altzheimer's). I speak of him quite often in my blog, but I write about a lot of other stuff. I will be back to your blog. Thank you for writing it. Regards to you. Ruby (aka Grammy)