I guess I had become a caregiver to my father since my mother became an invalid. My sister had then become her caregiver. At the time we had never heard the term before.
My father suffers from high and low bouts of diabetes. I was responsible for taking him to and from his medical appointments. I was also responsible for making certain he got his medications each day on schedule. When I thought that was under control, I took on a new job. That did not last for a week when I discovered on one of my father's appointments that he was diagnosed with a dangerous heart condition and had to be implanted with a pace maker. This was a fearful prognosis. I could not see the symptoms of something that serious. I decided it would be more beneficial to be with my father 24/7. Not only because of that, but because his bad health seem to flare up every time I try to work.
It wasn't until Hurricane Gustav that my sister and I were introduced to the term "Caregiver." We had to evacuate and while seeking shelter, we were notified that we were our parents' caregivers. It made us feel important all of a sudden. We took to the name and stuck with it ever since. Because we're required to spend a bulk of our time with our parents; which takes away from finding work, we had tried a couple times to gain caregiver funding, but with failure for some reason. And now we're without a car, but still taking care of our parents; of which we really have no regrets. We hope to prolong their lives for another 40 years or so. My father and I catch local transportation for now while my mother relies on an ambulance service. I feel a great reward in caring for my father as he lives his everyday life. His heart is strong and he hasn't had any setbacks with his diabetes since I have become his ongoing caregiver. Therein lies the reward.