Spending time caring for elderly family members is becoming an increasingly common activity for many Americans. While providing such care is often something we do without thinking about it, it can sometimes be detrimental to our own health. In the world of elder care, it’s important to consider the difference between a caregiver and the caretaker. Though the terms are similar, a caregiver is someone who benefits from the task, while caretakers can see their own lives negatively affected.
Providing elder care services is a stressful task in many situations. However, it should not be a source of constant frustration and stress that leads to depression. A caregiver knows that the services he or she provides are helpful and can take a certain amount of satisfaction from providing them. Yet when care giving crosses into care taking, the relationship causes the person providing care to feel resentment, depression, and even hostility. These feelings don’t have to solely be directed towards the elderly person, and can seep into your outside life, damaging other relationships you have.
Caretakers often feel as if they have a duty or obligation to address every problem an elderly person has. If you feel this urge you should refrain from acting it. While you should make it clear that you are available to provide assistance, do not cross boundaries and disrespect the elderly person’s choices. This is not only beneficial for them, but it makes it clear to you what tasks you should do, and what you shouldn’t.