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Caregivers: Services & Information for Carers

  • Synopsis: Information and articles on caregivers who care for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Definition: Defining the Meaning of Caregiver

A caregiver or carer is an unpaid or paid person who helps another individual with an impairment with his or her activities of daily living. Any person with a health impairment might use caregiving services to address their difficulties. Caregiving is most commonly used to address impairments related to old age, disability, a disease, or a mental disorder.

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Carer (UK, NZ, Australian usage) and caregiver (US, Canadian usage) are words normally used to refer to unpaid relatives or friends who support people with disabilities. The words may be prefixed with "Family" "Spousal" or "Child" to distinguish between different care situations.

Caregivers are people who take care of other adults, often parents or spouses, or children with special medical needs. Some caregivers are family members; others are paid.

Proper home care training is more important than ever for those who work with the elderly, as increasing numbers of older Americans are staying in their own homes or moving to some sort of assisted living environment.

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.

Caregivers provide help to another person in need. The person receiving care may be an adult - often a parent or a spouse - or a child with special medical needs. Some caregivers are family members. Others are paid.

Caregivers do many things including:

In the United States today there are approximately 50 million people who are caring at home for family members including elderly parents, and spouses and children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Without this home-care, most of these cared for loved ones would require permanent placement in institutions or health care facilities at great cost to our society.

Close to 80% of all long-term care is now provided at home by family caregivers to children and adults with serious conditions, including mental health issues, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury, cancer, paralysis, developmental and physical disabilities, cognitive impairments and Alzheimer's disease. Parents and family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care system and save health-care insurers and governments billions of dollars annually.

According to the American National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than one quarter (26.6 percent) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 50 million people.

Around half of all carers are effectively excluded from paid employment through the heavy demands and responsibilities of caring for a vulnerable relative or friend. Their work has huge economic and social impact.

Individuals who are interested in home care training should contact their local hospital, counsel on aging or community college to inquire about home care training programs in their area. There are also some training programs offered online as well as through faith-based organizations such as churches and synagogues.

Quick Facts: Alzheimer's & Dementia Carers

Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease or other Dementia

Statistics: U.S. Caregiver



Latest Carers Guides & Services Publications

Full List of Carers Guides & Services Documents (68 Items)




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