The evolution of becoming a caregiver can happen slowly over time, or suddenly as someone you know experiences a medical crisis or accident that affects their ability to care for themselves.
You may be a caregiver but not even have noticed when exactly you started to provide care to someone in your life.
By understanding what stage of caregiving you are in, you will be able to find the right services and resources for your unique situation.
It might have started with small things like driving someone to their appointments, or helping around the house. Then one day you became more involved as the person in your care started needing more help. You might have been concerned about their safety when they were on their own, or noticed that they were getting confused easily.
Eventually, you find that your role has become much more intensive as the person in your care needs help with activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, eating, and toileting.
The Elizz 5 Life Stages of Caregiving quiz is a tool to help determine your current stage as a caregiver and prepare you for the journey ahead.
By understanding what stage of caregiving you are in, you will be able to find the right services and resources for your unique situation. Even if you are just in the helping stage, getting a head start on planning and knowing who to call when you are in need puts you in control of the future.
For those who are at the later stages of caregiving, the quiz can provide suggestions for specific Elizz services and resources to help you with your biggest challenges, and help you to find the time to take care of yourself too.
Many caregivers don’t identify themselves as caregivers, especially in the early stages.
So what are the 5 stages of caregiving?
Caregiver starts helping a bit more than usual with everyday activities like shopping, meals, transportation, appointments and banking. Help is mostly consistent with the existing relationship – i.e. family member, friend, neighbour, and colleague.
Caregiving activities increase and may involve dressing, bathing, and managing medications and treatments. This stage may follow a new diagnosis or hospitalization. Caregiving starts to affect one’s home and work life. It is important to start proactive supports for caregiver wellness and preparation, although the individual may not self-identify as a caregiver.
Quite often, this is the longest stage in caregiving, where needs tend to gradually increase and can be quite complex. Although a person will begin to identify themselves as a caregiver they may not feel prepared to handle everything that may come along with being a caregiver in this intensive stage. Work and family life can be affected and may lead to family conflicts and the caregiver experiencing a wide range of unfamiliar emotions. Caregiver support is critical in this stage in order to avoid caregiver burnout and health issues and to develop a sense of confidence, strength and competence.
- All encompassing
Care needs are all-encompassing and may be 24/7. In addition to everyday caregiving activities, caregiver completes medical tasks and collaborates with health care team. Major impact on home/work life is likely. Without support, high risk of caregiver isolation, financial strain, burnout, and physical and mental health issues. With support, caregiver may experience a sense of mastery and stabilization.
Caregiving comes to a close through major transition – i.e. return to independence, placement in long-term care, or death. Caregiver may experience loss of the important caregiving role, in addition to grief, guilt, loneliness, acceptance, and relief. Without support there’s a risk of mental health issues. With support, caregiver finds new normal for his or her own life.
As of May 2016, 2369 caregivers have taken the Elizz 5 Life Stages of Caregiving quiz (see link above). Week over week we’ve found that the majority (39.6 per cent) of caregivers taking the quiz are in the Intensive stage of caregiving.
The remaining caregivers were identified to be in these stages:
- Involved: 23.6 per cent
- Helping: 20.2 per cent
- Closing: 11.1 per cent
- All encompassing: 5.6 per cent
Over the course of your time as a caregiver, you’ll most likely move through the 5 stages of caregiving for varying amounts of time. It can be helpful to take a moment to re-evaluate where you are now and then. This can help you stay on track, and gently direct you to available supports and services. Caregiving can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.
If you are a caregiver and feel you need help, or simply need to talk to a caregiver coach, a nurse advisor, or a counsellor, contact Elizz caregiving online or give us a call toll free at 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549).