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A Gift of Care:Why Caring Is Always A Gift
People who provide supportive services to others for pay are referred to as
caregivers and those who provide support without a fee, such as familymembers, neighbors, or Caregiving Team members are referred to as
caregivers. The nature and content of a relationship between a formal caregiver and acare partner likely will be different than a relationship between a care partner and aninformal care partner. The pre-existing relationship between family members or friendsappears to affect positively the experienced quality of the informal caregiving inimportant ways, even though the specific tasks of care may be generally the same andperformed with a comparable level of competence. In short, it may just feel different,better or more comfortable to a care partner when support is received from a familymember, long time friend, fellow congregant, or volunteer than from a person employedpersonally or through an agency. Why is this?Formal caregiving in reality is the performance of certain tasks, such ascompanionship, transportation, shopping assistance, personal care, housework, andmeal preparation, by a person primarily as an occupation. They perform tasks becausethey are being paid. If they were not being paid a fee, they would not be in contact withthe person needing care and support. The motivation to be present and to performtasks is primarily occupational. They are doing a job for which someone or someorganization is willing to pay. Their time together may have little or no mutuality. Thefollowing are some characteristics of formal caregiving.
The employed ‘c
is active and the care partner is passive, one performs,the other accepts or receives.
The employed ‘caregiver’ may be perceived as an “extra pair of hands
someonewho is there to perform tasks that a care partner cannot. The two relate asemployer and employee, rather than as peers.There may be differences of language, culture, race or ethnicity, and frequentchanges of paid caregivers that frustrate the formation of an interdependentrelationship.The
employed ‘caregiver’ is present because it is his or her occupation.