Caregivers voluntarily provide care and assistance, without being paid, to one or more family members, friends, neighbours or others who have a temporary or permanent disability (accident, impairment, illness, aging, etc.) and with whom they have an emotional connection (father, mother, spouse, child, brother, sister, neighbor, friend, etc.). On this basis, caregivers:
- Provide emotional support, care, or try to meet the needs of the person being helped, which vary according to each specific situation (e.g. errands, transportation, appointments with specialists, meals, housework, etc.)
- Support the person receiving help on an occasional or continuous basis, in the short or long term, according to the changes in the situation of the person being helped.
- Play their caregiving role in their own home, at the home of the person being helped or in residential institutions.
- Offer their support voluntarily, according to their own life situation and abilities, and can decide to decrease or end their involvement with the person helped, at any time.
It is therefore a role that comes in addition to that of being a parent, a spouse, a worker, etc., and it redefines the emotional relationship with the person helped. Caregivers’ role and identity should not be confused, they should be able to access respite services to keep time for themselves.