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I always thought a caregiver was someone who was paid to come in to your house to help care for an elderly or disabled person. In other words, a professional. I found it strange that Wikipedia said "caregiver" is normally used to refer to "unpaid" relatives or friends that assist with daily activities and living. I wonder how many people out there thought the same way I did, and didn't realize they were the caregiver.

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The term "caregiver" refers to anyone who cares for another person, whether professionally or as a family member. "Caretaker" is a word that was once used, and you see it now and then still, but it sounds more like someone who is a "caretaker" for a lake cabin or something material than for a person. Call it PC jargon if you like, but that's the history of the terms.
An aside: The UK and Australia general use the word "carers" instead of caregivers. Whatever work you prefer, "care" is the essential part.
Thanks for an interesting question.
Carol
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My husband's dementia doctor refers to me as a care partner. I'm not sure whether the idea is that I am a partner on the healthcare team, or my husband's partner as well as his care provider. Either way, I kind of like it.
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In my case it was an assumption made by my mother, because I lived the most responsible of her children. Makes you feel good knowing that living a responsible life qualifies you as the only one who WILL BE TAKING responsiblity for your mother's care. Never asked, automatically assumed, will become shocked-this girl is not taking on the roll. I am not an inanimate object to use as you please. Mother dearest-go hire someone for that job!!!! You are in a better financial position that I am. No freebies at my expense.
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I would assume a lot of people would think that a caregiver is someone that has a professional degree taking care of an elders and disable people. However, some of us have seen where one of our relatives and usually it was the woman relative that took care of our grandparents and of course they did not get paid for their services. However, I had no idea what my Aunt must had went through while taking care of my grandma who had Alzhemiers. Now that I am experience the caretaking role with the mnl I only know some of stuff she must had went through and I know my journey is hardly bee met.
My opinion of a definiation for 'caretaker' should be any person such as a relative, friend, volunteer, spouse, or organization that takes care of a person or group of people that are either mental, physical, disable, or elderly that cannot live by themselves without assistance. As for the pay, I think some people now can qualify to be paid a certain amount but not sure. Still learning all the nicks and crannies of being a caretaker.
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Bursack, that was interesting that, "The UK and Australia general use the word "carers" instead of caregivers." It is always interesting to me to learn about other countries and their cultural. As for the word, 'care taker v.s caregiver,' neither one matters to me for it's about the 'care' yet also, it is the care with the respect and dignity that you try to give the person you are caring.
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