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Long-Term Caregiving

23 Nov 2017

Becoming a long-term caregiver will take you through stages of caregiving that are often referred to as a “career of caregiving”.

How well you manage stress and your level of flexibility and adaptation to your loved one’s needs will impact on how you are able to cope with the transitions during your caregiving career.

Stages of caregiving include:

  1. Preparation for the Role

  2. Completing the tasks and responsibilities of caregiving

  3. Detachment from various levels of caregiving


  • Preparation is the key to coping as a caregiver.

  • The CHATS Caregiver Education Counsellor will be able to help you prepare throughout for the caregiving transitions.

  • Most caregivers climb a high learning curve. They become medical connoisseur, system navigator extraordinaire, assertive advocate, financial guru, and legal expert, all in one.

  • Many have multiple roles such as employee, parent, spouse, and any other relationships

  • Minding your own overall well-being usually gets put on the back burner.

  • A strong network of friends, family and service providers will help prevent exhaustion.

  • Information and support will help you provide the best care possible.

  • You’re not alone.

  • We can help you find the resources and people you need to take care of yourself.

  • Taking care of yourself means being better able to take care of your family member or friend.

  • Accepting the deterioration and learning about the issues that are associated with the illness will help you cope.

  • There is a role transition; as your loved one’s health changes so does the nature of your relationship with him or her.

  • Developing stress and time management skills are necessary to cope with changes that will occur over time.

  • Take advantage of resources in the community and whatever government programs and services you and/or your loved one are eligible for.

  • There may be a time when you will need to transfer your loved one to an institution. When this happens, you might feel guilt and failure for not being able to meet their loved one’s needs. These feelings are very common; you are not alone. Transition to an institution does not mean failure nor does it mean that you care any less.

  • Recognize and accept that the role is too overwhelming and acknowledge that a facility may be better equipped to suit his or her care needs.

  • Long-term care placement and the death are difficult transitions because it is when you find yourself detaching from the caregiver role that you were once used to performing.

  • Do not expect your life to return to normal right away.

  • Give yourself time to re-establish or re-develop your daily routine.

  • Each caregiving situation is unique

  • With the right information, resources, and support you will be able to care in the most positive way for your loved one…and for yourself.

For links to community-based caregiver support, government programs, long-term care placement and other important information, please see our Caregiver Education Counselor to help you navigate through these support systems.

Source: Aneshensel, C. S. Profiles in Caregiving, pp. 349-353.