There is an old saying that something hasn't really happened until you've told someone else about it.
Caregiverlist offers a section for Caregivers to submit their caregiving stories because it is always interesting to learn how someone was led to caregiving as a career or became the chosen one in their family to provide the care.
Research indicates that the oldest daughter typically takes the role of caregiver for parents. Sometimes a brother, sister or spouse needs care and someone becomes the caregiver out of necessity.
Last summer my cousin's husband fell off their roof while performing repairs (well, he actually fell from the ladder that fell from the roof). Luckily, he only broke both shoulders. As both of his arms had to be in a sling, this meant he couldn't feed himself nor provide his own personal care for bathing and toileting. His wife worked during the day which meant he had to have family members and a paid Caregiver be there for him to help with meals and bathroom visits each day. He told me that you think you understand what it must be like for those who are aging, but until you really need someone else to pull your pants down and wipe your behind, you have no idea how difficult it is to lose such a basic independence (he did however, develop some new skills during this time, including how to operate a tv remote-control with his feet)!
Caregivers provide much more than physical care and this leads to both challenges and closer connections. Sometimes those needing care will allow a non-family member to get closer to them because they don't want their loved ones taking on the role of caregiver. And other times, someone needing care takes all their anger about their condition out on their caregiver.
Read about experiences other caregivers have had and share your own with us in our Caregiving Stories section.