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Caregiver Stories

The Changing Roles of the Caregiver

The role of a family caregiver is anything but static. Besides juggling multiple responsibilities at any given time, caregivers often find themselves doing more tasks and confronting new needs as their loved one’s health, family dynamics and circumstances change over the course of weeks, months and years. “The process is challenging and there’s a pretty steep learning curve, but there are upsides — people often gain a sense of mastery they didn’t have before, and they grow personally and spiritually as they take on more roles and learn new skills while caring for a loved one,” says Barry J. Jacobs, a clinical psychologist and family therapist and coauthor of AARP’s Meditations for Caregivers: Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Support for You and Your Family. These snapshots of caregivers illustrate the many different roles they take on as they care for their loved ones.

The Tech Guru

A mother becomes a technology wiz to help her daughter live independently

The Advocate

After her son was severely wounded in Iraq, a mother became his voice


The Personal Attendant

A young mother takes care of her mother’s basic needs

The Personal Chef

A fondness for cooking helps a daughter create nutritious meals for her mother


Personal Attendant and Advocate

For this California couple, a hug from their son can mean everything

The Entertainment Director

A daughter makes sure her mother stays active and engaged


The Movement Facilitator

Attention to detail helps a caregiver maintain his wife’s mobility

The Best Friend

A daughter repays her mother’s kindness with caregiving


The Administrator

Keeping track of the little things is a big job for one caregiver

Healthcare Provider and Personal Trainer

Two former teachers streamline their daughter’s hands-on care and exercise


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