Tuesday, June 24, 2008

caregiving: in search of a definition

What’s in a name bemused Shakespeare. Yet caregivers face identity confusion every day on top of everything else.


caregiver   (kâr'gĭv'ər)  noun (US, Canadian usage) - or - carer (kâr'ər) noun (UK, NZ, Australian usage) - caregiving adj. & n.


“Someone whose life is in some way restricted by the need to be responsible for the care of someone who is mentally ill, mentally handicapped, physically disabled or whose health is impaired by sickness or old age.” Baroness Pitkeathley, “It's my Duty Isn't it?” … God Save the Queen! By George, she’s got it!


Boston College’s Sloan Work and Family Research Network offers this ivory tower definition: “…To qualify as a caregiver, a woman had to assist the parent with at least one personal or instrumental activity of daily living (e.g., bathing, meal preparation) or provide supervision to the parent.” … Being a guy I would not want to risk pointing out the inherent sexism in this definition to the allegedly liberal people of Massachusetts. <grin>


“A universally accepted definition of caregiving does not currently exist. Some define caregiving as a direct, hands-on experience. Others consider organizing paperwork or paying bills to be caregiving. Many families now find themselves providing some type of services to other family members or loved ones those goes beyond a normal filial responsibility. Whatever the definition, being a caregiver impacts your life!” … A fair and well put answer by elderissues.com though I am still looking up “normal filial responsibility”.


Then there is the US Department of Health and Human Services, “A generic term referring to a person, either paid or voluntary, who helps an older person with the activities of daily living, health care, financial matters, guidance, companionship and social interaction.  A caregiver can provide more than one aspect of care.  Most often the term refers to a family member or friend who aids the older person.” … Now it makes sense, Patti is younger than me and by their definition “caregiver” means taking care of an “older person”!


Before I pull out my hair, maybe it is simply about 'birds of a feather' ...


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 

musings:  www.lairofcachalot.blogspot.com

website: www.CaregivinglyYours.com

videos: http://www.youtube.com/daddyleer


(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. eventhough I have given up the physical care of my mother I still have the financial and business part of the bundle.  I  have the worry, the constant checking on the physcial condition and care, the responsibility,  the heartache when things are askue!

  2. LOL, Patrick, your humor continually amazes me!!! those birds were so cute and they made your point so cleverly!!

    its not a one size fits all thing, is it? Caregiving will probably never be able to be adequately defined because there are so many facets of it that can't be contained in mere words

    (side note; I'm taking off for about 5 days starting Thursday when my dearest of friends comes to visit so if I miss any entries, I'll catch up next week :)


  3. (((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOOU)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))I have learnd alot of what a Caregiver does by reading you Jourlna.I like reading your Journal to.Have a nice night.


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