What is caregiving?

Caregiving is the act of selflessly caring for a loved one. On the Mantelzorgelijk website you’ll find important information about caregiving. You’ll get tips and answers to all your questions, but without the complicated, professional jargon. In this article we answer the question “What is caregiving?”

There are people who enjoy taking care of others so much that they decide to make a career out of it. For example, doctors. nurses and home care staff. They are educated and trained to do this kind of work and are paid a salary for it. There are also people who take care of a loved one, usually a family member or relative. They are not trained to do this and are often volunteers. These people are called caregivers.

A caregiver is for instance a daughter who helps her father, who has bad eyesight, with the bookkeeping. Or a neighbor who once a week prepares a meal for his elderly neighbor. Or parents taking care of their child with a mental or physical disability.

When somebody voluntarily cares for somebody else, this is regarded as informal care. Therefore, caregiving falls into the category of informal care.

What is caregiving according to the law?

‘Caregiving is defined as people providing care and support, voluntarily and unpaid, to other people with physical, mental or (social) psychological disabilities within their family, household or other social network. This is the kind of help that goes beyond common help that can reasonably be expected from partners, parents, children or other housemates.’

Source: Social Support Act

Key elements of caregiving

  1. You provide voluntary and unpaid care for a loved one or a close friend.
  2. That particular person desperately needs your help.
  3. The help you provide goes beyond simple domestic tasks.

Although you often aren’t reimbursed for caregiving activities, it shouldn’t be confused with volunteering. Volunteering is something people actually choose to do.      Caregiving usually comes your way uninvited. Everyone will be confronted with it sooner or later. Caregivers sometimes attend to their loved ones 24 hours a day while volunteers often do this at a times that are convenient to them. A volunteer is always free to quit at any time. A caregiver can not stop just like that; after all, you take care of each other out of love.

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