Caregiving can be an emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging role.
The Caregiver’s Bill of Rights are simple truths that you may wish to reflect on during your time as a caregiver.
Being responsible for the care of an ailing friend or family member can consume your entire life, leading you to neglect your own emotional and physical needs. It’s important for your own well-being to take the time to regroup, relax and rejuvenate.
These Caregiver Bill of Rights will serve as an affirmation and reminder of your primary caregiver rights and responsibilities to yourself and the person you are caring for.
Caregiver Bill of Rights
My rights as a caregiver are:
- To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. Taking responsibility for myself will give me the capability to take better care of my friend or relative.
- To seek help from others even though the person I’m caring for may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
- To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
- To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
- To reject any attempt by my friend or relative (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, anger or depression.
- To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do for my friend or family member. In return, I will offer these same qualities.
- To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of of the person in my care, as well as my own needs.
- To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my friend or relative no longer needs my full-time help.
- To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired older persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting caregivers.
- To add my own statements of rights to this list. I will read this Caregiver Bill of Rights to myself every day.
Remember your caregiver rights and responsibilities on days when caregiving is particularly challenging. By asserting your rights as a caregiver, you’re giving yourself the permission to shape your role in a way that works best for you and the person you’re taking care of.
Horne, Jo. Caregiving: Helping an aging loved one. Toronto: AARP Books, 1985.
Retrieved from Family Services Toronto
First appeared in Jo Horne's book CAREGIVING: HELPING AN AGING LOVED ONE (AARP BOOKS, 1985)