Parent, Grandparent, Brother, Sister, or RelativeCaregiver and receiver
Some young people look after one or both of their parents or grandparents. When there is a family health situation such as from an illness, disability or drug/alcohol problem, you might find that you are doing more to help with housework, cooking or looking after your brothers or sisters. You might even help your parent or grandparent with washing, dressing or going to the toilet. Children and young people who help look after someone with an illness or a disability are often called "caregiving youth" or "young caregivers" in the United States or "young carers" in England or Australia.
At AACY and with its affiliates, we use the term "caregiving youth" because the word "young" has so many different meanings in our society that it confuses some people.
It can feel good to help and be a caregiving youth, but there might be things that worry you or stress you out as well. If your responsibilities affects your work at school or causes you problems, even problems with your friends, you and your family might be able to get help so that you don't have to do as much.
A Caregiving Youth Project will help if there is one near you. You could ask a Teacher, a Guidance Counselor, a Social Worker, or your School Nurse to help you. If you are unsure about a particular illness or problem, you may find some help by looking through this section. We are adding to it all the time. Also you may like read the section, "Caregiving Youth Stories" to learn about how other caregiving youth made it through their situation.
You may also find some information and support by calling our toll free number, 800-725-2512.
If you feel that you have to do things to help you that you are not ok with, or you do not know how to do, an adult such as a Social Worker or your School Nurse needs to know - there are others in your community who might be able to do these things instead.
Read more about "How I Feel" here
Special Thanks to Rebecca and Brittney who allowed us to reproduce the posters they submited to the Young Carers Initiative, Niagra (YCIN) , poster contest. See them here.