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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.
A mother becomes a technology wiz to help her daughter live independently
After her son was severely wounded in Iraq, a mother became his voice
A young mother takes care of her mother’s basic needs
A fondness for cooking helps a daughter create nutritious meals for her mother
For this California couple, a hug from their son can mean everything
A daughter makes sure her mother stays active and engaged
Attention to detail helps a caregiver maintain his wife’s mobility
A daughter repays her mother’s kindness with caregiving
Keeping track of the little things is a big job for one caregiver
Two former teachers streamline their daughter’s hands-on care and exercise
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