This section is designed to (1) Provide an overview of common issues that may arise between: caregivers and care recipients, and caregivers and service providers (2) Highlight the possible tensions these issues can create for service providers, (3) Develop awareness and identify assessment tools, best practices and other resources that can help to address and resolve these issues. The goal of this section is to facilitate:
- Problem identification – Identify potential sources of tension between caregivers and care recipients, and between service providers and caregivers.
- Problem clarification – Use the assessment tools to gather information about the impact of the issues.
- Problem resolution – Problem solve through exploring the resources and tips included in this section that provide innovate examples of how to work collaboratively to develop and sustain caregiver resiliency
It can be difficult to recognize that caregivers can require an equal amount of attention and support as the care recipient. Even if you are aware of their needs, you most likely have a limited amount of time, a heavy workload, relatively few resources, and daily disruptions that make it challenging to provide appropriate care to your clients, much less their caregivers. In this sense caregivers can feel marginalized by the very policies, programs and services that are meant to help reduce the negative impacts of caregiving. As a service provider, you must navigate these systemic impediments while understanding that caregivers may be providing care within complex interpersonal dynamics, struggling with a range of transitions and crises, be experiencing challenging emotions, and facing multiple legal and ethical issues.
Relatively little attention has been paid to the relationship between family caregivers and service providers. Existing research identifies that the relationship is a dynamic process that changes over time, and can include some tensions. Service providers can have ambiguous feelings that caregivers are both the problem and the solution to the care of ill family members or friends. Caring work is relational work and requires that those who provide professional services to seniors and their caregivers look at both their own, and caregivers’, assumptions, role expectations and responsibilities, as well as how negotiations between the two types of caregivers take place (Ward-Griffin and McKeever, 2000). Without a shared perspective between service providers and caregivers, issues can become entrenched and irresolvable, to the detriment of all involved and unintentionally increasing caregiver burden and distress.
Given that relatively few services are available for caregivers, including them in your circle of care may seem overwhelming. Yet if we ignore their needs, the results can be disastrous for the care recipient, the caregiver, service providers, larger systems of support, and society at large.