Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Do We Define Caregiving?

Caregiver:  1) a person who provides direct care (as for children, the disabled, or the chronically ill);   2) 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 National Care Planning Council  gives the following definitions:

Formal Caregivers
Formal caregivers are volunteers or paid care providers associated with a service system. Service systems might include for-profit or nonprofit nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, assisted living, home care agencies, community services, hospice, church or charity service groups, adult day care, senior centers, association services, state aging services, in-home daycares, and child care centers.

Informal Caregivers Informal caregivers are family, friends, neighbors or church members who provide unpaid care out of love, respect, obligation or friendship to a disabled person or child.  These people far outnumber formal caregivers and without them, this country would have a difficult time formally funding the caregiving needs of a growing number of disabled and young recipients.

The Ribbon Online:

·         A caregiver gives of oneself to assure that the person in need receives the necessary care to carry on his or her life safely and with dignity. 
·         A caregiver sees to it that the basic needs of food, clothing, cleanliness and shelter are met by the person with need.
·         A caregiver must also know how to meet that person's emotional needs without becoming co-dependent.
·         A caregiver never loses sight of his/her own needs and understands that in order to care for a loved one, you must also care for yourself.

How do you define Caregiver?

In the coming weeks we will continue building upon an agreed upon answer to this question and explore the importance of this subject today and in the future by looking at lessons learned in the past, where is the healthcare community at large heading and where one can find support, resource and guidance for Caregivers and the person who needs this help.

We are looking forward to your active participation. 



  1. how do I define caregiving. Well...there are several different types of caregiving. In the heath care setting, as a nurse we learn about Maslow's hierarchy of needs beginning with basic needs, providing food, clothing, shelter air...the next level deals with safety and comfort and the third is love and belonging. As a nurse you strive to meet these needs of your patient by providing nutrition, medication, comfortable surroundings and respect. The knowledge you have of their medical condition will allow you to formulate a plan of care to help to achieve the final goal of achieving their individual optimum level of health.
    In the home setting the primary care giver is usually the woman of the house....As newly weds, the bride normally takes care of the home, cooks, cleans does the shopping ect. However in this age and time these responsibilities are commonly shared as both are working and earning a living. However when a child is born the mother is mainly the caregiver, providing most of the basic needs while most parents share in providing the other needs such as safety, comfort, love and then adding the other needs of self esteem, motivation and self actualization which is teaching the child to become the ideal person. Another type of caregiving is taking care of an elderly parent or disabled spouse. This is an extremely difficult area as roles are reversed and you are in a situation that is unfamiliar. While taking care of my disabled husband my background as a nurse allowed me to treat his medical issues with no problems, I am able to provide basic and comfort needs, but meeting the needs of love and belonging and self esteem and motivation can be very draining. They may want all your time and energy, so that their needs over take your own needs. While you may want to do all you can for your loved one, you can become resentful for having nothing for yourself. What gets me through these feelings is the thought of...what if it was my lying there, how would I feel, what would I want. So...for me, being a caregiver is not just providing basic needs, its also providing myself for companionship and entertainment and love and caring, which is the first part of being a care giver. What you give of yourself will come back to you in the realization that you have reached the top of the hierarchy of needs by becoming the ideal person you can be.

  2. Thank you for your excellent comments and sharing your situation You have a remarkable perspective and professional background that allows a broader view of caregiving and as a caregiver.

    We look forward to other comments in the coming days and weeks ahead and collaborating on Caregivers and Caregiving.