Caregiver Types Summed Up 

Caregiver types are identified by former First Lady, Rosalyn Carter as basically past, present, future and in need of. Research backs this up as it finds that millions of Americans, at some point in our lives will need some in-home services, care, and assistance. Caregiver types are typically a spouse, adult son or daughter, other relatives, friend, volunteer, a center (Rehab, Senior or Care) or a hired aide. We tend to wait too long to get help when needed, losing valuable time to help things improve or prevent further decline or accidents.

“There are only four kinds of people in the world-

Those who have been caregivers

Those who are currently caregivers

Those who will be caregivers and

Those who will need caregivers”

–Rosalyn Carter

Care Needs range from short-term following a surgery or illness or long-term usually for a person with a degenerative disease; physical (Arthritis, Parkinson, M.S., ALS, Stroke), cognitive (Alzheimer’s and other dementias) or both.

Care can be a few hours, a few times a week or 24 hour, live-in care. Caregiver types may or may not any formal training, certification but rather “on the job” training by virtue of being put into the role of a caregiver. It is likely that you will see yourself in one of the above caregiver types. Usually in the first three as we rarely see ourselves in “need of caregivers”.  caregiverDenial is a natural and common reaction to the suggestion of needing any help. It goes against our “sense of self” and the culturally accepted belief that we are rugged individuals – wholly independent, regardless of any obvious needs.

Caregivers and Cared For, Benefit from Help

Anyone who has been or is currently caring for another person, for our purposes, an adult, likely an older adult, knows how difficult, demanding, exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming and gratifying this role can be. Family caregivers are usually not compensated financially, although there are legal and accounting mechanism for salaries, and work 24/7/365.  Family caregivers must get respite time to avoid collapsing themselves. They have much to share and teach the uninitiated who will become caregivers or need a caregiver, whether they believe it or not. As Americans age into their nineties, it is, or should be a given that at some point, some help will be needed as our physical and/or cognitive abilities decline or besieged by illness, breakdown or disease. The facts are there, anecdotal evidence is widespread so best to plan for the “eventuality” of helping a spouse, family member or friend or needing help yourself. Think ahead and get your financial and legal “ducks in a row”. Learn about benefits i.e. Veterans and community-based. Think about where you are living and whether it will be hospitable as you age and should become infirm (stairs). Understand that it is part of the process and reread your Long Term Care policy. Consider moving closer to family or into senior communities.  Learn to accept that if or when you or a loved one needs help, then your or a loved one needs help and arrange for it or hire an aide and find a Support Group or counselor. Remember, a little help begets more independence and a little help can increase your chances for a speedier recovery and certainly ensures greater safety and independence.

Different Help Needs

Help needs can vary from basic transportation, shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, bill payments, “checking in calls or visits” to more personal care needs such as the ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) such as help with bathing, dressing, continence care, feeding, walking, or transferring. Hopefully, any help needs are short-lived but if you or a loved one has a degenerative disease or cannot manage alone or even be left alone greater planning and solutions are called for. There are many Elder Care professionals out there from licensed Home Care companies, Elder Law Attorneys, Geriatric Care Managers (GCM), doctors, organizations etc.