When I think of caretakers, I think of caretaker governments or crisis managers who step in to bail out bankrupt cities. In novels, such as Lady Chatterly’s Lover, “caretakers” are the guys who do odd jobs around the estate. Someone who lives in the coach house of a mansion might fit the bill. But writer Grady Easley doesn’t see caregivers and caretakers that way. I love the distinctions he draws between folks who are giving out care to others and those who are the recipients of that care. They’re literally the “care-takers.”
He breaks it down to a simple transaction: the “givers” and the “takers.” It’s good to think about how age or infirmity can instantly switch us from one category to the other.
Presently, I should be considered a CARETAKER. At my age I do not enjoy the indignity of depending upon others for activities of daily living. My list of ailments is sufficient for anyone. Yet, I consider myself better off than many. I have a professional CAREGIVER. In addition, I have my friends who call or come by and they must be CAREGIVERS. On a personal note, I have books to read and a computer to contact the world. I’m fortunate.
By any measure, the vast majority of CAREGIVERS is composed of volunteers. Some are family and includes spouses and all others. The basic premise of these workers lies somewhere between a desire to serve and a duty or obligation to family. If there was a job description it would say something about aid, assistance, with no provisions for hand-holding. Undefined but numerous tasks are performed by these dedicated individuals. The required time may range from hours to days, even years.