Letter: Many caregivers don't realize they fall under the definition by helping

Do you help an elderly neighbor shovel snow? Mow their lawn? Pick up their mail? Do you run errands for a family member or a friend? Return library books, pay bills, pick up prescriptions?

Chances are you are a caregiver. When asked, many people define caregivers as someone paid to help someone with dressing, going to the restroom or providing medical assistance. However, another type of caregiver is often overlooked, the family caregiver.

Most family members do not identify themselves as caregivers. They are just doing what needs to be done to keep their friend or family member as independent, safe and healthy as possible.

Caregivers play vital roles in our growing population. A caregiver should be defined (in my opinion) as anyone paid or unpaid that provides emotional, financial, physical, spiritual or logistical support to someone unable to care for themselves or living with a disabling, chronic or life impairing illness. Care giving is important to recognize whether it's "just something we are supposed to do" or part of your job.

Do you identify yourself as a caregiver? Organizations like Elder Network, Salvation Army and Family Services Rochester can provide information on care giving and needed community resources to help you or someone you care for. Reach out to them to find find out what's available.


Becky Maher

Elder Network senior advocate


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