Caregiving 8 Ways
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are more than 65 million caregivers in the U.S. Some may not identify themselves as “caregiver,” yet they provide physical, emotional or financial support for a loved one who is ill. Understanding the different caregiver roles creates opportunities for caregivers to access support.
Primary Caregiver: You are a primary caregiver if you are routinely providing the day-to-day care for a loved one who is ill, and your family is depending on you to assist with activities-of-daily-living like bathing, dressing, and medications.
Secondary Caregiver: If your loved one’s care is primarily provided by one person, like your mother or father, that person is the primary caregiver. Most of the time, the primary caregiver is providing dayto- day care, and you are there for back-up. You may be counted on for weekend visits, to run errands, or assist with specific tasks like cooking or cleaning. The primary caregiver relies on you to back them up, for a break, or to make a friendly visit.
Working Caregiver: Are you working full- or part-time, and helping a loved one with physical care like bathing, or routine tasks such as bill-paying, housework and errands? Then you are a working caregiver. You may also be the primary caregiver or the secondary caregiver.
Crisis Caregiver: Someone else in your family is providing most of the care, and they count on you to help when a crisis occurs. In the event of a fall or a hospitalization, you are on stand-by to provide support.
Long Distance Caregiver: You provide support to an ill loved one who does not live nearby and may be providing support to the primary caregiver. Your role may include bill paying, arranging repairs, scheduling home nursing visits, or researching health care options. You rely on others to provide primary care but are behind the scenes offering important support.
Occasional Caregiver: Your role is limited to specific tasks or infrequent assistance, like driving a loved one to a doctor visit.
Community Caregiver: You may live next door to someone who is ill, and have offered to be a resource for the primary caregiver. You may make repairs after a storm, keep an eye on the house, or deliver essential items to the patient when the primary caregiver can’t be there.
Future Caregiver: Right now, your loved one is getting all the care they need from their primary caregiver and their medical team. As an illness progresses and caregiving responsibilities extend into the future, you may be called upon to provide support to your loved one who is ill and to the primary caregiver. Based on information from Hospice of Michigan and West Michigan Caregivers Alliance found at: www.caregiverresource.net