What is a caregiver? (or, sometimes, care giver)
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “caregiver” is “a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill).
Really? That’s it?
That simplified explanation about caregivers, and caregiving reminds me of an iceberg. You can see it in front of you, however, the vast majority of that mammoth chunk of ice is invisible to the naked eye. Only a small percentage floats above the water’s surface. In the same way, what a caregiver experiences and does for their loved one goes far beyond the obvious and what most people tend to see and believe.
Definition of a Caregiver
What is my “primary caregiver” definition? A caregiver is typically a family member, or friend who willingly sacrifices time, energy and, in some cases, their entire being to tend to the needs of a loved one. I define a caregiver as one who is prepared to be with the patient day and night, through thick and thin, providing anything and everything their care recipient needs. For most, that means “around the clock care.” Many caregivers exist on little sleep and likely experiences physical, emotional and mental exhaustion over a prolonged period of time. They receive absolutely no compensation and little, if any, positive reinforcement from others.
My description of caregivers, as I share often on this website, in blogs and social media dialogues, is that “Caregivers Are The Silent Heroes.”
Typically, caregivers work alone. Like many others, I viewed myself as a “martyr.” I refused to ask for, or accept a helping hand from others. Why? To this day, the only explanation I can offer is that I let pride get in my way. Was it worthwhile? Did I gain anything from “going it alone?” The answer is a resounding “NO!” Since then, my definition of a caregiver has gone through an evolutionary process.
The Real Meaning of Being a Caregiver
The true meaning of “caregiver” is not represented by “one person does it all.” Being a great caregiver can be a team effort. Many people can share the role and responsibilities. In fact, that is the best possible scenario. In that way, all those involved in “team caregiving” can rest, recharge their batteries, keep their spirits up, and prepare for their next shift, however long that may be.
The reason I wrote the book, “We’re In This Together, A Caregiver’s Story,” and created robcares and the robcares caregiver website is to share what I learned through my two distinctly different caregiver experiences. My book provides 70 Caregiver Tips that help the caregiver learn to accept, or continue in their role in as positive, enjoyable and efficient a manner as possible.
A Caregiver Website
This caregiver website is populated with web pages, blogs, audio and video interviews, resources, and much more, each created to assist caregivers (both brand new and seasoned veterans) with options for providing better care for the patient, and most importantly, themselves. Let’s face it, without a healthy caregiver, the patient will not receive the medical and personal attention they need and deserve during their medical journey.
Caregivers have to work hard. There is no getting around that. The more strategic a caregiver can be, the more enjoyable and efficient their role can become.
At robcares, our mission is to help, teach, support and encourage caregivers to enjoy their role, do it well…and have fun each and every day!
What is a Caregiver? It’s a person with love in their heart, and the knowledge and desire to make the patient’s journey an easier one.