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Eleanor Gaccetta’s One Caregiver Journey implies that providing constant attention and care to an aging person is rewarding, whether the caregiver is a professional or a family member. Professional and family caregivers share the same passion for caring for others.

Most of those who are family caregivers know that, while they often experience a sense of fulfillment when they provide care for their loved ones, there is also a significant risk of emotional and physical burnout. Still, many family caregivers are wary of putting their loved one’s care in a stranger’s hands.

At first glance, a stranger may seem ill-equipped to take on a very personal task, but you might be surprised. 

Similarities Versus Differences

1. Similarities: Mission. Family caregivers aim to provide long-lasting relief and support to senior loved ones. Their goal is to encourage comfort and ease distress despite juggling many responsibilities. On the other hand, professional caregivers deeply believe in providing compassionate service to seniors during their last few years. With their dedication to the profession, many caregivers dutifully serve in the senior care field for years.

2. Differences: Medical Skill.  Nurses and home health aides are skilled in providing specific medical care such as taking vital signs, administering medications, and observing and recording the senior’s physical and mental condition. Family caregivers can learn those same skills from hospital nurses before the discharge of a senior.  If the senior goes to a rehabilitation unit prior to returning home, the staff at the facility trains the family to perform all necessary in-home medical care.

3. Similarities: Constant Alert. Continuously monitoring the health of a senior family member can be huge. However, the pressures of caregiving require the family caregiver to be alert to the  patient’s status every minute of the day, especially if they have severely debilitating illness. Professional caregivers are paid to keep a watchful eye too on their care recipients during their duty period.

4. Differences: Comfort with Care. Personal care can be uncomfortable for some family caregivers. Family caregivers can be trained to provide personal care. Skilled in personal hygiene care, professional caregivers are respectful and discreet. Personal care is a part of a professional caregiver’s training.

5. Similarities: Reward. Caring for a parent or an aging spouse can be an around-the-clock job. Still, family caregivers are rewarded with the emotional bond they nurture with their loved ones throughout the caregiving process. On the other side, by growing bonds with their care recipients, professional caregivers also accept the joys of their role. The resulting connection from ongoing caregiving is gratifying to professional caregivers. 

6. Differences: Self-care. Thirty-five percent of family caregivers are so engrossed in caregiving that they forget to provide self-care. The result of lack of self-care can be damaging to the caregiver’s health. Professional caregivers are also devoted to their work. also. Many professional caregivers avoid burnout by paying attention and fulfilling their personal needs.

Quick Discussion on One Caregiver’s Journey

Every person is unique, but family and professional caregivers share many important attributes. Both are allies in caring for vulnerable people and can support one another as they do their best to serve them. This realization is implied in Eleanor Gaccetta’s One Caregiver Journey, in which the book itself was born with insight, personal memories, and advice for caregivers, especially on how to preserve a caregiver’s mental health. From having excellent jobs to becoming a self-taught family caregiver to her mother who fell and broke her hip at age 92, Ellie indeed knows what it takes of the realities, changes, and challenges of caregiving.  

During the six months after her mother’s passing at age 102, Ellie journaled about her reintegration into the world. She wrote that the biggest challenge to reintegration after nearly ten years of isolation has been not to be an outsider looking into the world that passed you by.

On the other note, Eleanor (Ellie) Gaccetta, MBA, is an author, speaker, home cook, and baker. Today she lives in a suburb west of Denver where she enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, cooking, baking, and gardening. She committed to remaining healthy, getting in shape, and staying fit during the pandemic. After the pandemic, she walks 2-3 miles daily and has become a gym shark.