Caregiver, (U.S., Canadian and Chinese usage) and carer (UK, NZ, Australian usage) are words normally used to refer to unpaid relatives or friends of a disabled individual who help that individual with his or her activities of daily living.
The words may be prefixed with "family" "spousal", "child", "parent", "young" or "adult" to distinguish between different care situations, and also to distinguish them definitively from the paid version of a caregiver, a Personal Care Assistant or Personal Care Attendant (PCA). Around half of all carers are effectively excluded from other paid employment through the heavy demands and responsibilities of caring for a vulnerable relative or friend. The term "carer" may also be used to refer to a paid, employed, contracted PCA.
The general term dependant care (i.e., care of a dependant) is also used for the provided help. Terms such as "voluntary caregiver" and "informal carer" are also used occasionally, but these terms have been criticized by carers as misnomers because they are perceived as belittling the huge impact that caring may have on an individual's life, the lack of realistic alternatives, and the degree of perceived duty of care felt by many relatives.
More recently, Carers UK has defined carers as people who "provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner". Adults who act as carers for both their children and their parents are frequently called the Sandwich generation.The sandwich generation is the generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
A general definition of a carer/caregiver is someone who is responsible for the care of someone who has poor mental health, physically disabled or whose health is impaired by sickness or old age. To help caregivers understand the role they have taken on, "Next Step in Care" outlines the following:
You are a caregiver if you:
- Take care of someone who has a chronic illness or disease.
- Manage medications or talk to doctors and nurses on someone’s behalf.
- Help bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled.
- Take care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone.
With an increasingly aging population in all developed societies, the role of carer has been increasingly recognized as an important one, both functionally and economically. Many organizations which provide support for persons with disabilities have developed various forms of support for carers as well.
Famous quotes containing the word caregiver:
“A new talker will often call her caregiver mommy, which makes parents worry that the child is confused about who is who. She isnt. This is a case of limited vocabulary rather than mixed-up identities. When a child has only one word for the female person who takes care of her, calling both of them mommy is understandable.”
—Amy Laura Dombro (20th century)
“By sharing the information and observations with the caregiver, you have a chance to see your child through another pair of eyes. Because she has some distance and objectivity, a caregiver often sees things that a parents total involvement with her child doesnt allow.”
—Amy Laura Dombro (20th century)