The Role of Caregivers
While implementing the Competencies, it is important to understand disability and health disparities, but also the role of family and caregivers in the lives of people with disabilities. Most people with disabilities can live and function independently, but some may have caregivers. Caregivers may be parents, siblings, and other family members, friends, paid attendants, staff, or others who help support people with disabilities and may at times communicate their wishes for them. More than 65 million people in the US serve as caregivers for family members who have a disability or are seniors in need of assistance, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, and the number of caregivers is expected to grow in the coming years.15 These caregivers are an important part of the lives of people with disabilities and may also need to be included along with the person with a disability in any communications about health and planning efforts.