Appropriate boundaries

As a carer, you need to be able to switch from being a caretaker to a caregiver according to the level of support required by the person you care for. It is important to give the person you care for the opportunity to care for themselves as much as possible.

A major difference between a caregiver and a caretaker is the establishment of appropriate boundaries.

Poor setting of boundaries can lead to long term caretaking and can foster co-dependency in a relationship. Caretaking and co-dependency go hand-in-hand and exist when a carer feels ultimately responsible for the care of another person.

In a co-dependent relationship the person being cared for can manipulate the carer to assume responsibility for solving their problems. The caretaker will begin to anticipate problems and become angry or upset when their help is ineffective or unappreciated.

This can cause the carer to over-extend themselves and reach carer fatigue.