What is a caregiver? The word and definition itself seem easy to understand, and we know when another person is a caregiver, but there are a lot of people who don’t believe they themselves are caregivers when in fact they are! Here are six caregiver myths that may shed some light on misconceptions you may have about caregiving. It is important to look at this because caregivers deserve help too. If more people knew they were caregivers they could reach out for help to relieve the anxieties and stress that can come with caring for another individual.
Myth: You are a caregiver only if it is a member of your family.
This is definitely not true! There are many people who care for people who are outside of their family circle such as a friend, neighbour, or co-worker. The act of giving care for someone can extend to anyone you want to help.
Myth: You are a caregiver only if the person lives with you.
There are all sorts of caregiving arrangements. The care recipient may live with you, or in another home, live in a residence, or even in a hospital. Some people are live-in caregivers, and some are not.
Myth: You have to provide more than five hours a week to be a caregiver.
Whether you provide a few hours every few weeks, or 24/7, there is no specific amount of hours that defines the role of a caregiver. The definition of caregiver is someone who provides care to an individual; there is no minimum hour requirement. Caregiving situations are different for everyone.
Myth: Caregivers are people who are 65 years and older.
You can be a caregiver at any age. And we are seeing more and more young caregivers in our society. In March 2019, we held the first Quebec-based Young Carers Symposium to highlight the importance of young carers.
Myth: There can only be one caregiver for one person.
You might be a primary caregiver, but that doesn’t mean you need to be the only caregiver. There are times when you will need to reach out for help, and those who come and help you become caregivers too. Having a support system like this is important for your health because caregiving can become overwhelming.
Myth: There is no help available for caregivers.
It might seem like there is no help, but there definitely is! Of course, AMI Quebec provides many programs like workshops, support groups, and counselling. We also have an external resource list on our website. There are many organizations like AMI that help caregivers according to their specific needs. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!