As Rosalyn Carter famously said:
"There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers."
This guide is part of a series. Our other guides are:
Most of us care for other people throughout our lives, in many different ways. This guide uses the National Cancer Institute's broad definition of caregiver as "person who gives care to people who need help taking care of themselves".
This guide focuses on caring for people later in their lives, at whatever age that might be.
That care takes many forms. The Atlas of Caregiving's categories list the kinds of activities that come first to mind - household chores, personal help with the activities of daily life, social and emotional support - but also healthcare management, coordinating care, and financial assistance. Caregivers can be unpaid or paid, professional carers or family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, volunteers or members of caring organizations.
Already a significant number before the pandemic, it's estimated that over 50 million people in the U.S., over 1 in 5, are now unpaid caregivers for family or friends. If you are, too - you're not alone!
For details on how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home, see the information in our Guide on Coronavirus and COVID-19, especially the page on What to Do if You Think You're Sick - or if Someone Else is, the page on Vaccines, and/or the page on Coping with this Pandemic.
If your loved one is not at home but in a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation facility, or another type of care home, here's a list of important questions to ask, and ask often:
We believe that being well-informed is key to taking better care of health (our own, and of our loved ones), and empowers us to work more effectively with our health care professionals.
PlaneTree Health Library strives to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free-to-use health and medical information. Links on these webpages have been chosen from authoritative and reputable non-commercial sites (nonprofit organizations, medical specialty groups, or government agencies). All of that information is freely accessible. We never link to advertisements and we avoid infomercials.
Back to the main PlaneTree Health Library website
While PlaneTree Health Library strives to guide you to reliable, valid, up-to-date information, every person's situation is unique. Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is appropriate. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional. Likewise, legal and financial information is provided for educational purposes only. These webpages are no substitute for professional legal, financial, or social work advice.
PlaneTree Health Library is not responsible for the content on websites accessed from our site. Each originating organization has sole responsibility for its web pages. Our intention is to provide patients, their families, and caregivers with trustworthy information to help them make informed decisions.
The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators or copyright holders.