Caregiving requires a lot — a lot of heart, passion, drive, energy, strength…. As any caregiver knows, the list goes on. Yet, caregivers also need a lot — information, resources, support — and many are too much in the thick of their role to come up for air and ask for any of those things.

Today, more than 53 million adults in the U.S. are caregivers — 1 in 5 people. Nearly one-quarter of caregivers report that the role has worsened their own health, according to an AARP survey, and 61% of caregivers are balancing caregiving and their careers.

Here, we focus directly on caregivers themselves, and learn about their experiences in their own words. We partnered with AgeGuide and AgeOptions, two Chicagoland Area Agencies on Aging (often called triple-As), that recently enlisted Evanston-based anthropologist Rebecca Berman, PhD, to collect caregivers’ stories. Berman asked each person about how they became a caregiver, how they find resources, and what they wish society better understood. 

In the following pages, you’ll hear about their trials and triumphs. If you’re a caregiver, you may see yourself reflected in their experiences. We hope these insights help all of us understand and support caregivers in our own lives and at a societal level.

Originally published in the Winter/Spring 2024 print issue