What do Caregivers Do?
Each and every duty of a Caregiver revolves around ensuring the continuity of care for the elderly person they are responsible for. The role can prove to be quite demanding, especially if the senior is ill and has specific medical and dietary needs. As such, it is best to have clear communication among the Caregiver, close family members, medical practitioner, pharmacist, nutritionist, along with anyone else who occupies an active role in the senior’s well-being.
Although a Caregiver’s list of duties can differ based on the unique requirements of a particular senior, the following duties are sure to be performed at some point during the caretaking process:
1. Care Planning and Management
A Caregiver would develop a care plan which includes, but is not limited to, a breakdown of managing your loved one’s home and their health requirements; this seeks to ensure that every aspect of caregiving for the senior is covered. Allocation of time and financial resources can then be determined in order to establish proper, but practical, expectations for caregiving.
2. Personal Care Assistance
As it pertains to everyday personal hygiene, the elderly can experience difficulties with bathing, using the toilet, brushing teeth, combing hair, cleaning up after themselves if they were sick etc. Caregivers are experienced in assisting with these daily activities and are gentle and patient while doing so.
3. Meal Preparation
Many adults experience a decrease in appetite as they age, consuming much less calories as a result. With this in mind, nutrient-dense meals need to be prepared for your loved one. Caregivers can liaise with a clinical nutritionist who is able to provide helpful insights where grocery shopping, meal planning and food preparation are concerned. Careful consideration is also given to types of foods that may interact with any medication the senior may be taking, or whether it will have an adverse effect on an existing medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
4. Medical Advocacy
Another role of a Caregiver is to ensure that your loved one’s medical appointments are made and kept, medication is properly prescribed and taken, and any out-of-the-ordinary issues are reported to the doctor as soon as possible, to prevent a possible life-threatening situation.
They can also take on the responsibility of checking health insurance documents, medical bills, doctor’s orders and correspondence, to ensure that the senior is not being overcharged or treated in a manner different to what would have been previously outlined in their care plan.
5. Emotional Support
“Care” is all-encompassing. When a Caregiver spends quality time with your elderly loved one - whether it’s chatting over tea, playing games, or taking a quiet stroll through the garden – they feel a sense of companionship. Remember that genuine, personal relationships can be a deciding factor in how much an older person fights against health challenges, or the amount of will necessary to improve a lifestyle.
Caregivers provide assistance with managing your loved one’s home, by performing routine chores such as washing dishes, vacuuming, taking out the trash, checking the mailbox and keeping the home tidy. This allows the senior to rest and enjoy their hobbies, and can also prevent possible accidents if they were to continue the housekeeping themselves.
Caregivers are trained to assist in moving the elderly from one place to another within the home, such as, from the bed to the toilet, or from the dining table to a sofa. If your loved one experiences frequent dizziness, or even imbalance, a Caregiver is equipped with the know-how to help them safely move from one area to the next.
Should your loved one be unfit to drive, a Caregiver can assist in this aspect, to take them to their doctor’s visits or the grocery etc. This is especially useful if family members are out of the country or unable to take time off of work if something comes up spontaneously.
Caregiving responsibilities are important for both the Caregiver and the senior being taken care of. The duties of a Caregiver can be trying, but the experience is rewarding. Many of those who choose to enter the profession gain valuable insight into not just the golden years of various elderly persons, but of life itself.