Six Stages of Caregiving

This online collection of videos and articles on the six stages of caregiving is packed with recommendations.

“The Caregiving Years: Six Stages To A Meaningful Experience,” by Denise Brown, is published on  You can find an introduction to these online videos and articles here:

(On that Introduction webpage, the links to the two tip sheets didn’t work for me.)

Brain Support Network volunteer Denise Dagan evaluated this resource and says that this information “may be helpful for those of you who are very organized and find your stress reduced by being prepared for nearly every possibility.”  Denise concludes that there are lots of good recommendations in the discussion of the six stages of caregiving, though she notes that there’s no mention of anticipatory (or preparatory) grief.

In videos and articles, Ms. Brown describes the six stages of caregiving, with trademarked terms as to the type of caregiver present in each stage.  And she provides a key word for each stage.  The stages and key words are:

Stage 1 – The Expectant Caregiver:  you anticipate someone you know will be in need of your assistance in the near future.  Learn to “Ask” questions of every professional, other caregivers, even your caree. You may be surprised by answers.

Stage 2 – The Freshman Caregiver:  you’ve just begun helping someone on a regular basis, if even casually (errands, bill paying, etc).  “Find” solutions for your caree.  Even in failed solutions, you have learned something.  Keep looking and trying until you find what works.

Stage 3 – The Entrenched Caregiver:  your involvement with your caree is almost daily – if not constant.  “Receive” help, support and comfort whenever offered for either caree or yourself, even if you think you are the best possible caregiver.

Stage 4 – The Pragmatic Caregiver:  you’ve been through it all: hospital stays, rehab, an array of community services and healthcare providers.  “Welcome” forgiveness of those who fail to help or make things difficult. Don’t waste any more time or energy on anger or resentment.

Stage 5 – The Transitioning Caregiver:  you’ve been caring for a period of time and now can sense the end.  “Allow” the experience at the end of your caree’s life to happen. You move from doing to just being with them. Consider hospice early.

Stage 6 – The Godspeed Caregiver:  caregiving has ended.  “Treasure” what you did during caregiving, how meaningful and purposeful the experience was, and your growth as a person.

BSN volunteer Denise shares a few things you may want to know about the videos, articles, and navigating the website:

First, the series starts with an introduction which has all six articles – with their related video links, at the bottom of the page.  You may be a bit overwhelmed by how many recommendations there are in each article, especially in the first three stages of caregiving.  Ms. Brown has really not left anything out in creating a list of all the things a caregiver should inform themselves about, including their own self care.

I recommend reading it through once.  Then, go back and find any action items that apply to your situation.  Take the time to do one or two of them and come back to the articles when you’re ready to add a new task.  Alternately, you could print the article that applies to your stage of caregiving and work through the list in your own time, returning to the next article when you’re ready, although there are links in the articles you may find useful while working through the recommendations.

Second, the videos are embedded YouTube screens with advertising banners over her face.  You don’t need to see her to appreciate the content, and you can delete the ads by clicking on the tiny x in the upper right corner of the ad banner at any time, without disturbing the video.

Third, after you watch a video, it is not clear that you have to click above the video on “The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey” to continue to the next article.  That takes you back to the introduction page, where you scroll down again to get to the master list of all articles and videos.

Fourth, Ms. Brown has an associated audio webinar in two parts that explains how she came up with the six stages of caregiving and outlines each stage on the screen along with audio.  The first is nearly one hour, and the second is 36 minutes.  I find her style very impromptu and somewhat repetitive (with some pauses in her speech so long I thought I’d lost my computer connection!) but there are some nuggets of wisdom in there, if you have the patience.

Finally, if you aren’t familiar with, this website has a large community section with several live chat options, online support groups and forums.  I haven’t checked them out, personally, but I thought you should all know they are there.