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Caregivers Toolkit

Introduction

Caregiving is an occupation which may engage individuals of all ages. It can encompass activities throughout the lifespan from caring for children with disabilities through meeting the needs of older adults. By 2030, 20% of the American population will be over 65 years of age. At present, families are the informal caregivers who provide over 90% of care for loved ones. In 2003 this "cost" $257 billion—an amount that is more than what the government spends on Medicaid. More females than males provide care, usually spouse or daughter(s).

The sociocultural environment in the U.S., as in other industrialized societies, has changed such that more women work outside of home, families are more mobile, and their sizes are smaller which means fewer family members to share the responsibilities. While caregiving can be very satisfying, it is also a demanding occupation. It is essential that occupational therapy practitioners build rapport with caregivers, be cognizant of their needs, and facilitate their performance in the occupation of caregiving.

This toolkit is designed to provide occupational therapy practitioners with resources to address the needs of caregivers. This could include families of clients; presentations to community agencies; support groups for caregivers; and all other venues where occupational therapy can provide expertise in this area.

The contents of the toolkit may be used by both practitioners as well as consumers who can select items relevant to their areas of concern. This page may be reproduced and distributed for educational purposes without prior written consent.

The PowerPoint presentation, designed as a framework to enable users to discuss key points of caregiving with their audience(s) may be modified to meet more specific population needs. Additional information on caregiving related to specific medical conditions can be found on the Web sites for organizations which provide support and information for those diagnoses.

The toolkit is organized into the following areas: