What is a Caregiver?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a caregiver a person who provides direct care for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill.Caregiver is a general term. To me it means anyone that supports someone that needs some extra help.

What is a Caregiver?

I'd like to start this topic with a quote from Former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.

Caregiving is universal.

What Is A Caregiver

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a caregiver a person who provides direct care for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill.

Caregiver is a general term. To me it means anyone that supports someone that needs some extra help. This could be a family caregiver, a home health aide, A respite caregiver, a travel companion, a companion or a sitter. You see, in todays world there are many that need help of some kind. And many that are stepping up to the plate and providing that support. And that support come in many shapes, sizes and forms.

Did you know that there are more than 65 million Americans, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or senior family member or friend during any given year. These caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week providing support for their family member or family member by choice, in a variety of different ways.

Yet, so many do not identify as a caregiver. So, I want to talk about the different types of caregivers.

What are Care Team Partners?

There are caregivers that I call care team partners. They are the individuals that support the person needing care. These care team partners are outside professional caregivers, also called home health aides; there are behavioral health aides. The person that takes someone to church, to the doctors or store because they can no longer drive, is a caregiver and care team partner. The pet walker, the Meals on Wheels volunteers is caregivers and care team partners.

The importance of caregivers is vital to our present health care system. Our present system heavily depends on the family caregiver to be part of the healthcare team. They are one leg of the healthcare system.

The second leg our healthcare system is the the professional caregivers. The doctors, the nurses, the therapist to mention just a few. These are the individual that are a core to the success of the care team.

The third leg of this stool, and the most important part of the patient, or the person that needs the support and care. The present health care system is moving towards a person-centered approach to care. This is important as the patient , or the designated health care power of attorney, drives the team to honor the wishes of the patient. If you want to learn more about the person centered profile, visit caregiver relief.com and put person centered profile in the search bar.

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    I have added an extra leg to the health care stool. That is the role of a care team partner. I want to share why I think care team partners are crucial to our present health care system.

    If one of the legs of the stool breaks, it all falls apart. Case in point.

    When I started www.caregiverrelief.com 20 yrs ago, the statistics for the family caregivers were grim. Back then, 50% of family caregivers actually became seriously ill or died, before the person they were caring for passed.

    Today, those statistics are alarming. Those stats have increased to 63% of family caregivers become seriously ill or die before the person they are caring for dies.

    Chronic stress, caregiver stress kills.

    That is why I have identified care team partners as a group of caregivers we must start to depend on , as we face this serious crisis. For the first time, globally, we are seeing more seniors. The growing aging population outnumbers the youth.

    To survive this dilemma, we need to get very creative in the way we approach care. We , as a country , need to encourage and support a sense of volunteerism. We need to encourage faith based organizations to step up to the plate and support the aging population.

    I have a hard time with most faith based organizations. Many faith based organizations, churches, if you will, have taken the tithing from their church members for decades. And when the seniors need help and support, there is very little support or even caring from the church members and leaders of the church.

    If you find my comments offensive, I don’t apologise. I have so many clients that have expressed that sentiment to me. I have personally witnessed this with many.There are many churches or faith based organizations that are doing nothing or very little to support their aging population. That is why the concept of care team partners is such an important one.

    Without all 4 legs, our health care system falls apart. Or is definitely not as effective in providing the much needed care so many seniors need.

    Growing Public Health Crisis

    As we face this growing crisis, the first step is help us identify what constitutes a caregiver? I understand your skepticism about why is knowing what is a caregiver?

    So many things that make you a caregiver are things that are just natural things we do to support and provide help to those that need that it.

    When you understand and identify yourself as a caregiver It gives you a different perspective. You can take steps to access to education and support. It also helps you provide quality care and focus on taking care of yourself.

    Caregivers are encouraged to practice stress management techniques, practice self care everyday. Join support groups that provide emotional and even disease specific support as your care recipient requires additional support.

    When you identify as a caregiver, as you learn about the needs of your care recipient, you can help plan for their future care needs. It also is a time to discuss the difficult subjects such as the legal paperwork in order and discuss end of life issues.

    Are You a Caregiver?

    So please take the quiz below to determine if you are a caregiver.

    Do you currently provide support such as cleaning, yard work, pet care or laundry for an adult family member or friend?

    Do you regularly cook, or provide food or grocery shop for someone?

    Do you help a friend or family member by picking up their medications?

    Or are you reminding him or her to take medications?

    Does your family member or friend call you nearly every day with a question or problem or concern?

    Do you drive a friend or adult family member to doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, church or on other errands?

    Are you monitoring a family member or friends medical conditions?

    Are you communicating with health care providers on their behalf?

    Are you advocating or doing research on their behalf with providers or agencies?

    Are you helping him or her get out of a chair, car or bed?

    Are you monitoring their finances?

    Has you helping your family member forced you to miss days of work, take a reduced schedule or consider early retirement?

    Do you call on behalf of a family member or friend to ask a question about a bill or to clear up confusion about a product or service?

    Are you feeling stressed by the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on to help?

    Are you unable to take part in hobbies or recreational activities because of the time spent caring for another?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions you are a caregiver or you may be a person that would benefit from support at www.caregiver relief.com

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