Who Is A Carer?
In case you were wondering
A carer is someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to illness, injury, disability, mental health problems, or addiction, can’t cope independently.
Anyone can be a carer.
The 15-year-old girl who looks after a parent with an alcohol problem.
A 40-year-old man who cares for his partner with terminal cancer.
An 80-year-old woman who tends to her husband with Alzheimer's.
They may start by making excuses for Mom missing family get-togethers, taking their husband to appointments, or doing more of the grocery shopping. It’s insidious, though. Gradually, they are doing more and more.
Ultimately, life as they know it stops, and all of their energy goes into caring for a loved one. Caregiving has become their new career, and they must adjust to a new way of life.
I’m not fond of labels - they tend to put people in boxes. But they abound, and society seems to insist on them, so let’s look at them in regard to carers.
Care Partner - When I realized Dan was having memory problems, I knew I would support him more - back him up as he did as much as he could on his own. We would work together as usual. The only difference was that I would take on more responsibility. But we’d always been partners.
Then I was doing more - was I then a care provider, a caregiver, or a caretaker?
Care Provider is a paid professional who assists older adults with everyday tasks. OK - that wasn’t me.
I liked this differentiation between Caregiver and Caretaker.
A caretaker usually looks after goods, property, persons, or animals. A caregiver refers to a family member, friend, or professional who provides care and support for a child or a dependent adult.
However, one definition offers this distinction.
Caregiving comes from love and forms the basis of healthy adult relationships. Yet, there is another element that can develop from caregiving, and that is caretaking. The latter causes co-dependency and is a far cry from extending love and care to another person.
I made every effort not to be a caretaker - to let Dan do as much as he could for as long as possible. So, I was a caregiver if I must have a label - but I was really a wife doing what she’d done for 60 years - but more so.
P.S. For our articles, I use the term caregiver - it sounds more like caring for a loved one than taking on a duty or paid position.
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