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”, “child” to distinguish between different care situations. The general term dependent/dependant care is also used for the service provided. Terms such as “voluntary caregiver” and “informal carer” are also used occasionally, but these terms have been criticized by carers as misnomers because they are perceived as belittling the huge impact that caring may have on an individual’s life, the lack of realistic alternatives, and the degree of perceived duty of care felt by many relatives. A paid worker may be referred to as a “care worker”, “professional caregiver”, “direct support professional“, “personal assistant”, “healthcare assistant (HCA)” or “care assistant”, but there is a considerable degree of variation and overlap in everyday and professional usage and “carer” is sometimes used informally as a synonym.
A widely-accepted definition of a carer/caregiver is:
- “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? (1989)
More recently, Carers UK has defined carers as people who “provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner”. Adults who act as carers for both their children and their parents are frequently called the Sandwich generation.
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.
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.
I have the right to take care of myself.
- This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the ability to take better care of my loved one. I have the right to seek help from others even though my loved one may object. I know the limits of my own endurance and strength.
- I have the right to maintain parts of my own life that do not include the person I care for just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can do for this person. I have the right to do some things for myself.
- I have the right to get angry, be depressed and express difficult feelings once in a while.
- I have the right to reject any attempt by my loved one to make me do things out of guilt or anger.
- I have the right to get consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do for my loved one, as I offer these in return.
- I have the right to take pride in what I am doing. And I have the right to applaud the courage it has taken to meet the needs of my loved one.
- I have the right to protect my individuality. I also have the right to a life that will sustain me in times when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.
Submitted by: Dagmar Slaven 23-10-09
It was twenty five years when my wife and I made our vows to each other, one of them being to love honour and cherish in sickness and in health till death us do part.
Little did we know what these vows would mean so far down the line? I thank the Lord daily for the loving, caring, wonderful person He brought into my life. She cares for me both mentally and physically, uncomplaining even when I’m miserable, difficult or a right pain in the neck. I cannot express how grateful I am for her love and care.
But there are other unsung heroes in this world. Those women and men who unselfishly give of their time to work with and for the sick, aged, disabled, infirm or abandoned children to name but a few, cannot be praised and thanked enough.
The committee members, staff (paid and unpaid), at the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation South Africa require special mention in this article mainly because they have affected me personally, and it is through their unselfish efforts that I can live a life as close to normal as I can get. Without their help I cannot even think where I and many others would be today.
Those of you who are involved in any way in caring for others, need to know that some of us can’t thank you personally for various reasons, but I would like to be so bold and thank you all on their behalf. The nurses, doctors, members of welfare foundations and committees, wives, husbands, children, parents and friends and anyone else I haven’t mentioned —- THANK YOU !!!!
Submitted by: Roly Clulow 22-10-09
Submitted by: Roly Clulow 23-10-09
- The Power of Love…. (researchingreform.wordpress.com)
- There Are Currently 6 Million Carers In The UK Of Working Age And The Numbers Are Growing! (cooperativestoday.wordpress.com)
- National News: Kinship carers ‘being let down’ (coventrytelegraph.net)
- Carers unaware of respite support (granthamjournal.co.uk)