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Caregiving Basics


Article by Megan Mendez

Photography by Megan Mendez

What is a caregiver? 

A caregiver refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Caregivers can help relieve burdens and be supportive to the needs of the client. The care delivered may be for a long term or short term, but the care is always important.

Caregivers basically do not perform medical care, instead this is classified as personal care or supportive services. These services include assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders, laundry etc.  Caregivers usually develop close relationships with the clients they help. 

There are several different type of caregivers which includes private caregivers, independent caregivers, family caregivers and respite caregivers.

Employed/paid caregivers are typically employed by an agency or facilities to help their assigned clients on a continuous, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Some advantages to hiring a caregiver in this category are:

  •  The agency would provide a replacement/ backup caregiver in the event that the assigned caregiver is unavailable
  •  The agency ensures that the caregivers are licensed, trained and screened so that you will receive only the best care available
  • The agency is irresponsible for the work performed so if you are unhappy with the care provided you have someone to call s

Family caregivers are the family members who provide care for a loved one.  This caregiver can be any family member and can include  children, spouses or other family members. They usually don’t receive compensation for their service.

Independent caregivers are caregivers who do not work through an agency, but they are sometimes called as private caregivers too. While an independent caregiver may be less expensive, families are taking risk by letting a stranger  into their home.  Other risks may include IRS tax issues, inability to screen that person as well as the risk of being taken advantage of.

Respite caregivers are caregivers who provide care for a short period of time or only to give a break to the existing caregiver or family member. They are not for long-term.

In-home care is best for seniors whose desire is to remain in their home and receive the care they need.  While there are many reasons to hire a caregiver, the main reason is that caregivers can help with all your personal needs in the comfort of your home.  

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