As more people spend time providing elder care services to parents or other elderly family members, they often experience stress or difficulties because of the services they provide. Elder care, especially for untrained volunteers, can be very difficult, and it’s important to know when you need to step back and think about the difference between caregiving and caretaking.
Caregiving and caretaking are both words that describe elder care, but they can also be used to distinguish between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. A caretaker is someone who provides care but in a manner that is unhealthy either to the caretaker or to the elderly person. Caregiving, on the other hand, can be used to describe a healthy relationship where both the caretaker and the elderly person have a positive experience.
So how do you know the difference? It’s a fine line, but caretaking is often stressful, frustrating, and exhausting. Caregiving, on the other hand, is loving and, though it can be stressful at times, is something you draw strength and inspiration from.
Caretaking will often lead to feelings of depression in the person who provides care. The long hours, stressful situation, and feeling of constant pressure are common feelings for caretakers who are overwhelmed by the process. Also, unhealthy caretaking relationships do not give the person providing care a sense of accomplishment. Caregivers, on the other hand, come away feeling better about themselves knowing that they have helped someone else with their problems.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.