Caregiving is often a role we take on gradually in addition to our responsibilities as an employee, parent or spouse. Being a caregiver can also happen suddenly due to an accident or health crisis. The responsibilities increase as our loved one ages or their illness progresses and often only ends in their death.
While caregiving can sometimes seem like a daunting task, it is also very rewarding and can be made easier through shared information and responsibilities. Family caregivers are part of the team who cares for a loved one and they are entitled to be informed and supported in their role.
The role of a family caregiver evolves over time and can redefine the relationship with a loved one being cared for. This is often true of the parent/child relationship, where the child is providing care and support to a parent who cared for them for much of their life.
Both the caregiver and the person receiving the care have to adapt to the changes that continue throughout the caregiving journey. That journey may include significant role changes as higher levels of care are required or a decision to move in to a care facility is made. Some people who have been looking after a loved one at home find their relationship improves or changes when the parent moves into a care facility, and the caregiver/patient relationship can revert to more familial roles.