A caregiver—sometimes called an informal caregiver—is an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid care providers providing care in one’s home or in a care setting (day care, residential facility, long-term care facility).
A caregiver can be your family member, partner, friend or neighbor who helps care for you while you live at home. About 80 percent of care at home is provided by unpaid caregivers and may include an array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services. On average, caregivers spend 20 hours a week giving care. More than half (58 percent) have intensive caregiving responsibilities that may include assisting with a personal care activity, such as bathing or feeding.
Information on caregivers show that:
- About 65.7 million people in the US (one in four adults) were unpaid family caregivers to an adult or child in 2009
- About two-thirds are women
- Fourteen percent who care for older adults are themselves age 65 or more
- Most people can live at home for many years with help from unpaid family and friends, and from other paid community support
Caregiver Tips for Beating Stress
Focusing on the rewarding aspects of caregiving can also help you beat caregiver stress. We’ve compiled a short list of tips for getting in touch with positive emotions and fighting stress, gathered from the Family Caregiver Alliance:
- Learn to recognize warning signs of stress and frustration.
- Practice physical and mental relaxation techniques.
- Rethink a difficult situation objectively.
- Find your “why” and remind yourself of it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Family Caregiver Alliance
National Center on Caregiving
(415) 434-3388 | (800) 445-8106
FCA CareNav: https://fca.cacrc.org/login
Services by State: www.caregiver.org/connecting-caregivers/services-by-state/
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