The Caregiving Continuum


By Brenda Avadian

The caregiving continuum addresses the three major stages of caregiving-the pre-caregiver-one who is yet to enter the world of caregiving; the caregiver-one who is currently providing care, and the caregiving survivor-one who no longer actively provides care.


Most of us who have walked the road of caregiving would respond in disbelief if someone had told us we would be serving as a caregiver. The period leading up to our role as caregiver is unique.

Rarely are the steps taken definable as we answer the noble call of caregiving. Still, any information we provide about this pre-caregiver stage will illuminate and enable you to be prepared as you find yourself increasingly involved in a

loved one's affairs and care. Meanwhile, professionals can use information directed to the pre-caregiver to better help families know what to expect.


Caregiving encompasses a broad range of duties.

It often starts when you care for a loved one at home, from a distance, or with help provided by an in-home care service and/or the use of adult day care services. As your loved one's care needs grow, you may choose the homey environment of a board and care, residential care home, or an assisted living community. When your loved one's condition declines further, you may need 24-hour skilled nursing care. Finally, while your loved one's life draws to a close, palliative care offered by hospice is often welcome.

Along the caregiving journey, you may need an elder law attorney to help you set up an estate plan and a durable power of attorney for healthcare, and an accountant or a tax advisor to help you manage your loved one's finances.


Just as the journey leading to caregiving is unique; so is the journey after caregiving. Whereas, the statistics paint a grim picture of the number of caregivers who actually survive the experience, those of us who do, take each day at a time as we reconstruct our lives without our loved ones.

There are no set guidelines and each of us follows a different path. For example, some of us believe: Once a caregiver, always a caregiver. Many of us find ourselves helping others to navigate their own journeys or volunteer at local organizations where our knowledge and experience benefits others. Others of us choose to let time do the healing as life increasingly fills the void.

Brenda Avadian, MA, an award-winning speaker, serves as a national spokesperson for family and professional caregivers and is an internationally acclaimed author.
Brenda advocates making use of the caregiving continuum, including support groups, geriatric assessment, educational sessions, in-home care, adult day care, elder law services, clinical studies, and residential, assisted living, or nursing care.

More than a dozen years since she became a caregiver, she continues to bring hope and strength to caregivers around the world through knowledge, humor, and tears of joy.

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