Sixty ethnographic interviews with 15 family caregivers for frail older people living in the community were analyzed to understand the meaning of activity in caregiving. Schön’s (1983) reflection-in-action framework was used to organize the data. Three goals of caregiving activity were derived: (a) getting things done, (b) achieving a sense of health and well-being for the care receiver, and (c) achieving a sense of health and well-being for the caregiver. The family caregiver was conceptualized as a lay practitioner involved in the clinical reasoning and ethical dilemmas integral to the provision of health care for the care receiver. The caregivers’ judgments regarding the prioritization and attainment of goals determined the forms of caregiving activities. Implications for occupational therapy practice and the relationship between the caregiver and the professional are discussed.

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