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What Is Caregiving?

Most of us will provide or receive basic assistance or care during our lifetime


Family Caregiver Alliance

Most people will become caregivers—or need one— at some point in their lives.

A caregiver is anyone who provides basic assistance and care for someone who is frail, disabled or ill and needs help.

Caregivers perform a wide variety of tasks to assist someone else in his or her daily life, for example, balancing a checkbook, grocery shopping, assisting with doctor’s appointments, giving medications, or helping someone to eat, take a bath or dress. Many family members and friends do not consider such assistance and care “caregiving”—they are just doing what comes naturally to them: taking care of someone they love. But that care may be required for months or years, and may take an emotional, physical and financial toll on caregiving families.

For some people, caregiving occurs gradually over time. For others, it can happen overnight. Caregivers may be full- or part-time; live with their loved one, or provide care from a distance. For the most part, friends, neighbors, and most of all, families, provide—without pay—the vast majority of care.

More:
Caring for someone who is cognitively impaired
Caregivers for people with dementia need a break
Where to find support for caregivers

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