As the U.S. population ages and health care costs soar, family and friends are called upon increasingly to provide care. While the typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with at least some college education, anyone in the infirm person's circle may be called upon to provide care. The kind of care provided varies greatly-from managing treatment and medication regimens to driving in from out of town to help with shopping-as does each caregiver's reaction to providing such care. While some find caregiving terribly stressful, others find it rewarding. Nurses need to know how to identify the primary caregiver, discern the level of strain caused by caregiving, and create a partnership with the caregiver to help ease the burden. Accompanying text explores one caregiver's experience.
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