This article is part one of a three-part series designed to help nurses help caregivers.
Families provide most of the care for older adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Estimates vary, but as many as 43.5 million Americans currently provide care for a person over 50. Because care giving for seriously and chronically ill people carries well-known physical, emotional, and financial risks, with consequences for the older adults as well as the caregiver, it's important to assess and address a family caregiver's needs, strengths, and limitations. Nurses have the training, skills, and opportunities to carry out these assessments.