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10 Senior Caregiver Duties You Should Prepare For

Written by Kerry Lange
May 26, 2022
10 Senior Caregiver Duties You Should Prepare For
Table of Contents
No one ever expects to end up being a caregiver for their aging parent or loved one, but it can be a challenging and rewarding job all at the same time. If you’re in this position, it’s important to know what your caregiver duties may be.

What Is a Caregiver?

A caregiver provides unpaid care to a family member, friend, or neighbor who cannot care for themselves due to illness, old age, or disability.

Caregiving can be extremely emotionally and physically demanding and can take a toll on caregivers’ health. In fact, according to a study on family caregiving by Statistics Canada, having too many tasks and responsibilities when caring for a family member or friend can be a significant source of stress, especially when caregivers feel they lack the resources to meet the needs of their care receiver.

Careers should take time for themselves to best care for their loved ones and get the support they need. Whether building a support team or taking a break through respite care, it is crucial to regain balance and joy in this challenging time.

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Caregiver?

Caregiver duties and responsibilities can include:

1. Assessing medical needs

2. Preparing care plans

3. Assisting with basic needs

4. Providing companionship

5. Helping with housekeeping

6. Monitoring medications

7. Assessing a care plan regularly

8. Preparing meals

9. Assisting with transfer and mobility

10. Providing transportation

The role of an older adult caregiver is often undervalued and, typically, unpaid. However, family caregivers play a critical role in the long-term health and well-being of their loved ones.

1. Assessing Medical Needs

Good caregivers always assess the medical needs of their patients and work to ensure that those needs are being met. They are often the first line of defense when noticing changes in a loved one’s health. Some caregiver duties may include administering medication or treatments, so it’s essential that they can identify any potential health problems and take the necessary steps to address them.

2. Preparing Care Plans

Typically, a care plan is prepared in consultation with the individual they are caring for and other involved parties, such as doctors, nurses, and relatives.

The care plan covers all aspects of the individual’s care and includes goals, interventions, and monitoring tools. This helps ensure that all necessary tasks are completed and that the client receives the highest possible level of care. A care plan is a communication tool between the caregiver, the client’s family, or other involved parties.

3. Assisting With Basic Needs

There are varying levels of assistance with activities of daily living that are included in caregiver duties, depending on the individual’s needs. Service may be limited to delivering environmental support, such as reminding individuals to take their medications or eat breakfast.

Caregivers may provide hands-on personal care for individuals with more significant needs, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. In some cases, caregivers may also need to help with basic needs such as eating and using the bathroom.

4. Providing Companionship

This is often one of the most critical caregiver duties, as many seniors or people with illnesses may be isolated and lonely.

Companionship improves mental and emotional well-being and makes life more enjoyable. Caregivers offer support and friendship to people who may not have anyone else to turn to. This can be a critical service for isolated people or otherwise unable to socialize regularly.

5. Helping With Housekeeping

Many caregivers do help with housekeeping. This can significantly benefit the older adult they are caring for, as it can help keep their home clean and organized. Some people only need help with basic housekeeping tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping, while others require more intensive assistance such as medication reminders or help with mobility.

It can be overwhelming for a caregiver to manage additional housekeeping and tasks. Hiring professional help for housekeeping or much more can provide relief.

6. Monitoring Medications

Caregivers often monitor medications, especially when caring for an elderly or disabled person. Sometimes, caregiver duties include administering medications, while in other cases, they will remind the person taking the medication when and how to take it.

The caregiver must be aware of all medications taken by the person in their care and any potential interactions between them.

7. Assess the Care Plan Regularly

Assessing their care plan regularly will ensure that they provide the best possible care for their elderly patients. This includes evaluating the patient’s condition and needs and making necessary changes to the care plan to ensure that it meets those needs.

Caregivers need to communicate with the trusted care support circle about the care plan so everyone is aware of what is going on and stays on the same page. Caregivers can provide high-quality, individualized patient care by regularly assessing and tweaking their care plans.

8. Preparing Meals

In general, caregiver duties will include preparing meals for senior patients. This can include cooking meals from scratch, helping to order food from a restaurant or grocery store, or preparing frozen meals.

Caregivers may also ensure that older adults receive enough nutrition and hydration. Nutrition is beyond diet. This is especially important for those unable to cook or shop for themselves. Sometimes, caregivers may also be responsible for feeding senior patients directly.

9. Assisting With Transfer and Mobility

As a caregiver, you may assist with transfers and mobility for your loved one. This can include helping to move them from their bed to a chair or aiding in their ambulation if they can walk independently.

You need to know if you are physically capable of doing this and, if not, either get the medical equipment or additional people to help.

In some cases, caregivers may also be able to provide some physical assistance with transfers. For example, they may be able to help an individual stand up from a seated position or move from one chair to another. Getting the right tools to assist with transfer and mobility from a reputable company like Carex, such as an easy to maneuver wheelchair, can help simplify the overall process.

10. Providing Transportation

Caregivers often provide transportation for senior patients and older adults. This is important for older adults who need help getting to doctor appointments or other necessary appointments. It is also be helpful for seniors who need assistance with grocery shopping or running errands.

Overcoming Caregiver's Isolation

Many caregivers bear the stressful burden of trying to make the square peg of caregiving fit within the round hole of a normal workday. Often, they just don’t fit. 

Your personal time is typically the first thing to go. We recommend that you build up a support crew with everything from generous relatives, - recommended caregivers, and community resources to help.  One way to combat isolation is to build a support group made up of those same people that are helping out. 

The people you socialize with as a caregiver may not be the same ones that you have been blowing off steam before, but they know what you are going through.

There are real consequences associated with caregiving responsibilities, that you need to consciously combat like increased risk for stress and burnout. Social support will do good for your sense of support and confidence.

Build Your Family Care Team Today!

It’s no secret that taking care of elderly family members can be a challenging task. Not only do you have to worry about their physical and emotional well-being, but you also have to manage your busy life simultaneously.

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