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Transitioning to Caregiving

Page history last edited by Lexy Harkins 7 years, 10 months ago


About Us 




What is a caregiver?        


A caregiver is a person, usually a relative or spouse, who cares for a loved one due to a variety of diseases or disabilities. The person being cared for, the care receiver, is usually an older adult, but can be of any age.


Some of the most common diseases that require a caregiver include neurocognitive disorders, like dementia or Alzheimer's disease, stroke,

heart disease, Parkinson's, and cancer. 


Some of the roles of caregiving include:

  • Helping a loved one get dressed
  • Helping with meal preparation and feeding
  • Helping a person move around the house
  • Helping a person to shower or use the bathroom
  • Cleaning



Sometimes, the need for a caregiver happens very quickly, and there is little time for the transition to caregiving.  Caregiving can be a very stressful role.  Stress can cause problems with family members, such as spouses and children, who may feel neglected.  Stress can also cause distractions at work and lead to participation in fewer leisure activities. Keeping a balance between the caregiving role and other roles is important.


Some tips to help with this balance include:

  • Continuing with old routines, especially spending time with friends and family
  • Making time for your own needs, like sleeping or making your own medical appointments
  • Understanding that it will take time and practice to feel comfortable with new responsibilities
  • Adding the new role of caregiving, NOT changing your identity to only being a caregiver



 The caregiver role is a new role, separate and overlapping from roles of parent and wife or husband.  Transitions involve changing skills and needs.  New challenges come up and old needs are not met in the same way.  It is normal to feel disconnected.  It is important to know that no transition into care giving is the same as another.


     Ways you can prepare for this new role:

                  • Find ways to involve your loved one in planned activities
                  • Respect the privacy of the care receiver and treat them like an adult. 
                  • Look at the home environment, are there any dangers present?
                  • Keep medications out of sight
                  • Keep in touch with doctors
                  • Give yourself praise for trying! 







AARP: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/

WA State Department of Social and Health Services: http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/Publications/22-277.pdf

Alzheimer's Resource Center: http://www.wesharethecare.org/6.html

Caregiver Action Network: http://www.caregiveraction.org/

American Occupational Therapy Association: http://www.aota.org/Consumers/consumers/35118.aspx?FT=.pdf











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