Caregiving to an elder relative or an adult with disability should be planned ahead of time

Caregiving should not be forced on a person who is able to make rational decisions. A self-neglecting individuals who has the mental capacity to make decisions, can refuse help (see Care Refusal, Competency, and Capacity). For those who refuse assistance, it is best to attempt to persuade them to accept help. When attempting to help someone who refuses care, tell the person that the goal is for them is stay in their home safely (see Persuasion). However, if the individual is unable to make decisions (incompetent), but still rejects help, then legal guardianship may be required (see Guardianship & Conservatorship)

What is Caregiving?

Caregiving is caring for the physical and emotional needs of a family member or a friend (What is caregiving?, n.d.). What should you know about becoming an effective caregiver? Caregiving involves caring for the physical and emotional needs of a family member or a friend (What is caregiving?, n.d.). Caregiving may involve:

  • Assisting with general care like meals, bathing, dressing, and transportation;
  • Time devotion: Depending on your situation, you may provide care from few hours weekly or many hours each day;
  • Considering fire safety: Use of smoke alarm and having fire extinguishers. Having escape plans familiar to your loved one and they  do them;
  • Considering access and mobility: If your loved one is unable to walk, you may need to install ramps over stairs and or have to your door’s width changed to allow for a wheelchair;
  • Considering the bathroom: Consider a raised toilet seat with grab bars installed by a professional near the toilet and bathtub. Falls are common in the bathroom and kitchen, so use nonskid mats in these areas. Lower the water temperature on the hot water heater to prevent burns, the skin of the elderly maybe thinner than yours. You may want to consider include a bath seat and hand held shower head; and
  • Adjusting to new situations: Accepting the need to learn new physical skills or adapt old ones is a process that takes time and energy (What is caregiving?, n.d.)

Taking Care of the Caregiver

Keep a positive attitude. The care you provide only one can cherish, the person receiving your care.“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do” by Eleanor Roosevelt (the Creative Mind, n.d.).


Caregiving can mean a major change in your life. It can also be a major life-changing experience for you and your loved one

Caregiving can be an exhausting job. It’s very important for caregivers to maintain their own mental and physical health.

Physical State: The caregiver should not have physical limitations that would prevent them from lifting their loved one safely. For example, a caregiver with long-standing back problems would not be a good first choice for an elderly mother who is completely dependent. He or she must learn the proper techniques for lifting and transferring. The caregiver is also advised to learn the use of available equipment can make some of these tasks easier to perform (What is caregiving?, n.d.).

Mental State: Caregiving  demands a lot of thought (What is caregiving?, n.d.). Planning how time will be used is key. The caregiver must pay attention to their own well-being or the may become depressed. Get help from others. Form a group of others who can help in giving care. You can enlist another family member, a church member, a friend who can relieve you from time to time (What is caregiving?, n.d.).

Emotional State: Caregivers, especially those with dependent older adults who require continuous attention, can easily feel isolated and frustrated. Understanding the challenges that come with caregiving is the first step in meeting them (What is caregiving?, n.d.). Talk with Friends. Sharing thoughts and feelings is an effective way to stay in touch with others and avoid caregiver burnout and feelings of isolation (What is caregiving?, n.d.).

Different Roles of Caregiver

Caregiving is bound to cause stress. If the stress seems overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek help. Caregivers must always think that they part of a team (What is caregiving?, n.d.). The team may include physicians, nurses, therapists, home health aides, social workers, volunteers, and other specialists (What is caregiving?, n.d.). The best care possible can only be given if the communications among the team are clear and built on respect.

Providing Emotional Support

A young hand touches and holds an old wrinkled hand

One of the greatest gifts a caregiver can provide is the human contact and loving support

Providing emotional support can greatly affect the physical and mental well-being of your loved one. No matter what physical or mental condition your loved one is in, his or her physical condition, always allow for privacy, allow private visits and phone conversations. Always treat your loved one as an important and worthy human being. Provide care but also give as much responsibility as possible, even the simplest tasks can help the dependent person feel needed and in control (What is caregiving?, n.d.).

Help Make Decisions

As a caregiver for a loved one, you may assist your loved one and health-care team with decisions on care and other issues (What is caregiving?, n.d.).

Finding the Right Help

As a caregiver, you may help with or be fully responsible for finding the right assistance. Finding the right help is important. Who should you call if you cannot lift your loved one after a fall? Who do you contact if you experience physical or emotional exhaustion? Is your help reliable?  If you enlist the help of another family member or a friend, monitor for signs of abuse. You can encourage your loved one to do things that they can safely do by themselves.  Allowing them to do as much as possible for themselves helps them feel valuable and in control (What is caregiving?, n.d.).


The Creative Mind. (n.d.). Building identity: The courage to define yourself. Retrieved from

What is caregiving? (n.d.). What is caregiving? Retrieved from 

Last updated: June 7, 2020 at 16:44 pm by
I. M. Abumaria, Doctor of Nursing Practice
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