Unfortunately, many people find that a member of their family at some point becomes so ill that you have to become a nurse to them. Is there a word for this sort of nurse-family rôle in which family members are forced to take on the responsibilities of a close relative?

I'm thinking about the relatives of those with dementia or such diseases where the patient stops being able to act for themselves.

1 Answer 1


Family caregiverWikipedia

Relatives, friends, or neighbors who provide assistance related to an underlying physical or mental disability but who are unpaid for those services.

From Net of Care,

There are different types of family caregivers: Parents, Adult children, Spouses, Family members, Neighbors, Friends, etc.

Regardless of how you became a caregiver, you are about to take on a new role for which you may not feel prepared. It is normal for you to feel nervous or overwhelmed about what is expected of you. You may experience a number of mixed emotions including anxiety, anger, and sadness. At the same time, you will probably feel the desire to care for your loved one the best way you can.


noun (UK) A family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person
"The main carers are family members and friends, and they require adequate support."

See also, caretaking vs caregiving on Google, to learn about the differences between the two.

  • 1
    It might be worth pointing out that the role of carer to a disabled or chronically sick person is officially recognised in UK social welfare law. And such people can have an entitlement to special social security benefits, especially if it involves their having to give up, or curtail their work to do so.
    – WS2
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:31
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    Great answer, +1. Note to OP (U.S. English): "caregiver" is often sufficient. There's a verb, too: "Edith was ready for a vacation, having spent the last ten years taking care of one elderly relative or another." Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 6:00
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    Yes, carer… and here in Britain, anyway "nurse-family" might as easily mean a family of nurses… a more acceptable form would be "family-nurse" Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 0:21

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