According to Carol Levine of the United Hospital Fund, a longtime researcher and caregiver herself, and Susan Reinhard of the AARP Public Policy Institute, few non-caregivers have any real idea of how much care an in-the-trenches family caregiver provides.
In a story by Paula Span on the New Old Age Blog titled “Caregiver, Plus M.D. or R.N.”, Carol Levine is quoted as saying, “The public perception is what you see in ads — people sitting by the bedside, holding hands, making lunch, smiling at one another…It has that glossy look. That’s not the whole story.”
Family caregivers these days give medications that have precise and often complicated schedules. Many give injections and some use feeding tubes and dialysis equipment. Often, they have had little or no training and no reliable resource to answer questions. These duties, once the territory of nurses, are keeping loved ones out of nursing homes longer, but caregivers are stressed more than the general public can imagine.