The Role of Caregivers in Activities of Daily Living
A caregiver is a person who attends to the needs of a dependent child or adult. The care that this person provides can come in many forms: assisting in activities of daily living, keeping track of medications, providing companionship, or helping to manage finances. While the dependent person is usually living in the same house as the caregiver, many adult children are responsible for parents who live in a nursing home or assisted living environment.
Caregiving often includes a wide range of activities that occupy almost every hour of the day and, in some cases, round-the-clock care. Such responsibilities include cooking and serving meals, transportation to appointments, changing beds, bathing and grooming, shopping, banking and paying bills.
Taking responsibility for another person is among the leading causes of stress. Take, for example, the case of Helen, a woman in her fifties who retired early from her job as a health care administrator to enjoy her garden and her grandchildren. Suddenly, her father-in-law moved in and her time had to be devoted to caring for a cantankerous, frustrated diabetic patient who demanded high carbohydrate foods, alcoholic drinks and chair-side service, with no word of appreciation. Obviously, such stress can lead to health problems for the caregiver.
Statistics show that 22.9 percent of individuals 65 years or older are disabled or need long term care. Dementia patients make up 22 percent of those requiring services. Of those providing the care 72.5 percent are female, and most of the caregiving responsibilities are not shared.