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Caregiver Stages

Caregiving consists of a wide-spectrum of duties with many different levels.  The following stages may help you identify where you are in your caregiving career.

Stage 1 -- Performing Caregiver Tasks 

When a dependency situation emerges in which a family member or close acquaintance performs tasks designed to assist an older individual with routine activities previously performed without assistance. 

Stage 2 -- Self-Definition as a Caregiver 

When an individual comes to view themselves as a caregiver and incorporate this activity into their social or personal identity 

Stage 3 -- Performing Personal Care 

When a caregiver begins providing personal care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, bladder or bowel evacuation, or aspects of personal hygiene.  Whereas the need for personal care marks the end of informal caregiving for many children, it also signals an unambiguous start of caregiving for spouses. 

Stage 4 -- Seeking Assistance and Formal Service Use 

When a caregiver actively seeks out formal support services designed to help caregivers.  The frequent observation that many support services go unused likely reflects the fact that the services have been targeted to caregivers who have not yet reached this stage, which can be considered the servable moment. 

Stage 5 -- Consideration of Nursing Home Placement 

When the caregiver seriously considers placing the elder into a nursing home as an alternative to informal caregiving.  When caregivers fail to seek services prior to seriously considering nursing home placement, there is little opportunity for services to play a preventive role.

Stage 6 -- Institutionalization 

When nursing home placement occurs.  As many dependent elders die without ever residing in a nursing home, not all caregivers reach this stage. 

Stage 7 -- Termination of Caregiving Role 

When caregiving has an explicit end.  There are three possible reasons: 1) death of the elder or caregiver; 2)recovery of the elder; or 3) termination of the caregiving role (i.e. caregiver quits). The significance of this stage is that it acknowledges that care by informal caregivers continues to be provided after the elder has been institutionalized.

These stages are taken from United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging Focus on Family Caregiving:  The national Family Caregiving Support Program.

http://www.aoa.gov