Caregivers, also known as caretakers, are individuals who provide physical and/or emotional support for elders and loved ones without having received formal training. The care provided often relates to helping the elder or loved one with everyday tasks or activities that may be more difficult due to advanced age, disability, injury, or illness. Caregiving also often includes taking care of medical and financial needs, and arranging long-term care when needed.
The resources on this page and on the following pages have been put together to help educate, train, and support caregivers so that they may continue to deliver high-quality care.
Resources & Information for Caregivers
Visit the below pages for more detailed information about providing care and support for elders or loved ones with the following conditions or areas of concern:
Or, learn more about Bassett Healthcare Network's pastoral care and palliative care services.
Whether your role as a caregiver involves daily care, medical care, involvement in decision making, or support, there are many national resources available that can help you in your caregiving journey:
The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) analyzes policies, conducts research, develops national best-practice programs, and increases public awareness of family caregiving issues.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides detailed information about common age-related health concerns and how caregivers can provide effective support for those with these health concerns.
The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) supports caregivers who care for adult loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.
MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (the world's largest medical library), and is an online health information resource for patients and their family and friends. Their mission is to provide trusted, easy-to-understand medical information.
AARP is a United States-based interest group focusing on issues affecting those over the age of fifty. They offer multiple resources for family caregivers, including information about providing care at home, receiving care at a facility, and more.
For family caregivers, AARP also offers a family caregiving question and answer tool that answers frequently asked questions about caregiving in general, insurance and benefits, legal and financial affairs, long-term care options, and strategies for balancing life and caregiving.
While caring for a loved one can be extremely rewarding, it can also put a major strain on the caregiver's mental health. Caregivers need to be aware of the impact their support is having on their own health, which may include increased anxiety, fatigue, or weight-loss/weight-gain.
Learn more about the risk factors, indicators, and strategies to help manage and alleviate caregiver stress from MayoClinic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just as every situation is unique, so will be your role as a caregiver. You will most likely have many questions as you provide care for your loved one, and that is completely normal. We hope the below list will help answer some of your questions.
Whether you are providing care for a loved one due to advanced age, disability, injury, or illness, you will need to accept the new situation in order to be an effective caregiver. In many instances, this involves allowing yourself to grieve and comprehend the new changes to your loved one's life, as well as your own.
Caregiver stress is extremely common, and there are many resources and strategies available to caregivers to help them learn how to deal with the physical and emotional demands involved with caregiving.
Learn more about self-care as a caregiver, stress management, and the different types of grief and loss:
Even if it's just for moral support or the occasional visit, help from other loved ones can be invaluable. That help can come in many forms, no matter how near or far your siblings or other family members are from you and the person you are providing care for.
Learn how you could get more help from other family members from the Family Caregiver Alliance:
Long-distance caregivers generally live an hour or more away from their loved one. This can make the coordination of care difficult, but there are steps that you can take to assist a loved one who lives far away from you.
Learn how you can help as a long-distance caregiver from the below resources:
Being a caregiver is difficult, especially if you are taking care of a loved one.
The Family Caregiver Alliance, part of the National Center on Caregiving, has compiled a list of tools you can use as a caregiver to identify any personal barriers and move forward with self-care while you care for your loved one. They have also created a list of simple steps and strategies to keep in mind to ensure you care for yourself.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has also created a page to help caregivers care for themselves. Learn about their tips for taking care of yourself, including understanding how stress affects you, protecting your physical health, recharging when needed, and practicing good mental habits.
It is very common to feel overwhelmed and exhausted at certain points in your caregiving journey – especially if you are also working full or part time and have other family obligations.
Respite care is an option that gives caregivers a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Learn more about respite care from HelpGuide.
When to Consider Long-Term Care
Long-term care services and facilities help people live as safely and independently as possible when they are no longer able to do so on their own in their current situation. If possible, try to discuss and plan long-term care options with our loved one before it is needed.
Visit our when to consider long-term care page to learn more, including the various types of long-term care, how to discuss this with your loved one, and how to know when it is time for long-term care.