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2010-08-13 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


August 13, 2010  RSS feed
Senior Living

Text: T T T

Caregiver Identity Theory

By Jack M. Rosenkranz, J. D.

Most people have some idea of what they would like their aging process to look like -where they want age, how they be care for and who they want to surround themselves with? However, few imagine what it will be like when their loved ones age. Few plan for being both a wife and caregiver to an ailing husband or both a child and caregiver to an aging parent. These incredibly important transitions are rarely planned for. Furthermore, the importance of this transition is underscored by new research showing that how caregivers experience this transition greatly affects their level of stress and emotional and physical hardship.

Caregiver identity theory, originally articulated by Dr. Rhonda Montgomery and Dr. Jung Kwak (2007), emerged, in part, to show that when loved ones become caregivers, their needs are multi-dimensional and the caregivers themselves often require individualized plans to maintain their own health and quality of life. However, when the aging process begins, the focus is usually solely on the aging adult, rather than his or her caregivers. Caregiver identity theory represents a shift in understanding the multi-dimensional nature of the aging process for families, not just the ailing elder.

While caregivers are sometimes told about the services for which they are eligible, they are rarely informed of what would be particularly useful given their individual situation. Caregiver identity theory recognizes that different caregivers will be affected by the transition to caregiver in different ways. As a result, they too require an individual plan. Information about available resources is important, however, matching individual caregivers to the resources most applicable to them and their circumstance is even more important. Care coaches and professionals in business of advocating for aging adults are valuable resources for those in the aging process.

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