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What Does a Caregiver Do?

If you are helping an older family member or friend who can no longer manage on his or her own...if you take the older person to medical appointments or shopping...if you help with personal needs such as dressing or bathing...if you help with financial matters such as paying the bills or managing the checkbook...then you are a caregiver.

Caregivers dedicate on average 20 hours per week providing care to older persons and even more time when the older person has multiple disabilities. Many caregivers provide care with no outside assistance whatsoever; however support services for caregivers, including information and assistance, support services such as education, training, support groups and respite care have been shown to delay nursing home placement of care recipients and provide relief to caregivers.

There is satisfaction in caring for someone in need and a great majority of caregivers (72%) believe that providing care to an older family member has brought them closer to that person. However, the mental and physical strains associated with caregiving tend to "mount up" since caregiving responsibilities can be further complicated by a job or child care responsibilities.

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