Being a Caregiver "Formal" caregivers are paid for their services and have had training and education in providing care. "Informal" caregivers, also called family caregivers, are people who provide care to family or friends, usually without payment. Making the Home Environment Safe Here are some suggestions: Make sure lighting in hallways and on stairs is adequate. Secure area rugs to prevent falls and slips. Outdoors, make certain railings, gates, and fences are secure and in good repair. Assistive Equipment for the Home Assistive equipment includes shower seats and bathtub mats; walkers, canes, and wheelchairs; and telephones for the hearing-impaired. Caregivers Need to Care for Themselves More than 22 million Americans are involved in some form of helping elderly family members or friends with their daily routines. If you're part of this group, whether you call yourself a caregiver, or simply a good daughter or son, you know that caring for an aging parent or friend has its rewards and its trials. Caring for the Caregiver Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be adult children, spouses, siblings, friends or neighbors, who help with daily activities such as bathing, feeding and clothing. Elder Care Elder care encompasses a wide variety of issues, including choosing an appropriate doctor to care for an aging patient, and making decisions about moving an elderly adult from the home environment to a residential care setting. Planning the Care of Your Aging Parents Many children of aging parents wait until there's a crisis, and then they're left scrambling for mediocre options. Health Newcomer: The Patient Advocate Patient advocates fulfill many roles, even, in some cases, staying with hospitalized patients around the clock to help guard against medical errors. Understanding Long-Term Care When people of any age need others to help them with medical, physical or emotional needs over an extended period of time, they need long-term care. How to Plan for Long-Term Care Most older people are independent. But later in life, you or someone you love may need help with everyday activities, such as shopping, cooking and bathing. In Support Groups, You Get (and Give) Help In a mutual support group, people just like you face similar ordeals and challenges.