Am I a Caregiver?
Do you care for a loved one who has a chronic or other health condition, disability, or functional limitation? If so, you might be a caregiver! Often people think that caregivers can only be trained professionals. Rather, the long-term care system would fail without caregivers who provide care to important people in their lives!
Sometimes the word “caregiver” is miscommunicated. This could be because many people do not realize they are caregivers. For example, parents who have a child with a disability may not immediately identify as a caregiver because they assume that is their role within the family.
There is also sometimes a negative connotation with the term “caregiver”. Many believe that this sounds like a one-sided relationship. However, this is not always the case so some people prefer the word “care partner”.
Some caregivers can be considered “compound caregivers” because they care for more than one person. An example of a compound caregiver is someone who cares for their elder parents and their adult child with a disability. If a compound caregiver cares for an older adult and also has minor children at home, we call them part of the “sandwich generation.” This is a growing group of caregivers.
Compound caregiving can be extremely challenging with time often being filled with the needs of their loved ones. Taking breaks can also be extremely challenging, since care is for more than one person. Families may also look to those who already are caregivers to take on additional care duties.