A caregiver is a person who regularly looks after a loved one who requires intensive, tailored and unique physical, emotional, nutritional and social assistance. One in five full-time employees care for a family member or friend who has a serious illness, developmental disorder or disability.
A caregiver tends to spend time with their loved one, monitors their medication and physical needs, provides meals, socialization and other daily living needs. All across the world, regardless of language, culture, or nation, taking care of a loved one has become a more frequent experience. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are 55 million caregivers in the United States alone, or nearly 21% of the total population.
A significant amount of research demonstrates that caregivers for a loved one experience difficulties with their own emotional, mental, and physical health. The decision to give up something in order to love and care for one’s child, spouse, or parent can create a complicated way of life that is extremely difficult. Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers experience higher levels of stress and caregivers with chronic stress may be at greater risk of cognitive decline. This occurs because there is so much to do for the person being cared for each day that self-care for the caregiver is frequently neglected, delayed, or given lower priority.