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- Home Healthcare
- In Charge
||These days between people living longer, multi-generation households, blended families, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, advanced health care technology available for home use and a health care system that has many gaps where families fall between the cracks or are on long waiting lists for help at home, more and more care is pushed down to children; children who should be able to focus on their education and have time to experience childhood. Often it is not one person, but rather multiple people in the care of these hidden, unrecognized young providers of the long-term care.
Often caregiving youth feel alone, overwhelmed and unable to focus in school. They have no one they trust who understands what is going on at home and they may even fear that their family would be split apart. Well adults in the family may go to work...and even work extra hours to support the family. So the caregiving youth has to get right home – no time to make new friends, go to the library or participate in sports. Sometimes it is easier to miss school and be with their family member just to make sure they were okay.
Welcome to our website! We are glad you are here! Sickness and illness may cause families to have to help each other. In your family, you may help your parent, grandparent, brother or sister with things they have trouble doing for themselves, like dressing or feeding. This type of help is called “caregiving” and it is an important job within a family.
Some children help look after someone in their family by:
• Staying in the house a lot to be there for them.
• Helping them to get up, get washed or get dressed.
• Doing lots of the household chores like shopping, cleaning, cooking
...and maybe looking after younger brothers and sisters as well.
Some young people look after one or both of their parents or grandparents. When there is a family health situation such as from an illness, disability or drug/alcohol problem, you might find that you are doing more to help with housework, cooking or looking after your brothers or sisters. You might even help your parent or grandparent with washing, dressing or going to the toilet. Children and young people who help look after someone with an illness or a disability are often called "caregiving youth" or "young caregivers" in the United States or "young carers" in England or Australia.
- Caregiving Youth Body Map
- Caregiving Youth Project
- Project History
- Context of Region
- Middle and High School Students
- Palm Beach County
- County Sample Baseline
- Responses Boys vs. Girls
- Education and Awareness
- Steps in Progress
- Home Page Draft
WHAT IS YOUTH CAREGIVING LIKE?
This body map was created by six high-school aged caregiving youth who have been receiving support from the Caregiving Youth Project of Palm Beach County.
At a youth leadership retreat, caregiving youth were asked the question: "What is caregiving like to you?" and asked to write or draw on their own body map. The group then created a body map that represented shared experiences. Each caregivers' journey is unique, but the group had many experiences in common.
Caregiving can be stressful, as well as emotionally and physically draining. It can be hard to concentrate with so much on your mind. It can also be hard to find opportunities to feel like a kid and to just have fun.
It is not easy being a caregiver but we feel it is our obligation to help family members who are ill or disabled and need care.
Despite the difficulties, caregiving also opens you up and you can grow as a person. By drawing on internal strength and getting support from others, including peers and staff at the Caregiving Youth Project, we are finding ways to deal with the stresses we face. We think we will be better prepared for adulthood than other kids our age because we've already "had a taste of the lows" that life has to offer. We know how to take care of others and how to "make something out of nothing" when money is tight and times are tough.