Stage 2: Finding Help

You may have been a caregiver for months or perhaps even for a year or two on a regular basis. It is clear that you are the primary caregiver and that this is not going to be a short-term illness with anticipated quick recovery.

  • Perhaps you are the spouse of someone whose health situation has changed. When you moved to Florida, both of you may have been healthy, looking forward to travel and other enjoyable retirement activities. You didn’t envision yourself becoming a caregiver and the changes that being a caregiver would mean for you.
  • Perhaps you are an adult child caring for an aging parent, and you find that plans you had for your own family have been shelved. Working full-time and caregiving may be exhausting you already, and how many more years of caregiving could lie ahead?

Whether you are a spouse, adult child, or other relative or friend, your caregiving role is still valuable and meaningful. Yet, as a stage two caregiver, you may feel angry, sad, and alone. What do you do now?

This is the time when services for your care receiver and relief for you as the caregiver must be found. Respite care (breaks from caregiving) may come from family and friends, faith communities, and formal services such as home health care and adult day care.


For assistance from most sources, you will need to tell people that you are a caregiver and ask what help they can provide. Yesterday’s caregivers sometimes had the advantage of an extended family to help out, people were not living as long with dementia and chronic illness, and fewer people worked outside the home. Your friends, family, faith community, and formal service providers need to hear that you are a caregiver. Also, if you are a stage two caregiver who works outside your home, you need to know about options for employed caregivers.

Note: If you are already facing heavy-duty hands-on caregiving, also look through Stage Three: Heavy Care for topics you may need.

To access the services or programs described in the Handbook, call the Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.