No one ever expects to end up being a caregiver for their elderly 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 duties you may be responsible for.
What is a caregiver?
A caregiver is someone who provides unpaid care to a family member, friend, or neighbor who is unable to care for themselves due to illness, old age, or disability.
Caregiving can be extremely demanding both emotionally and physically and can take a toll on caregivers’ own 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 major source of stress, especially when caregivers feel they lack the resources to meet the needs of their care receiver.
To best care for their loved ones, caregivers should take time for themselves and get the support they need. Whether it’s building a support team, or taking a break through respite care, it is crucial to regain a sense of balance and joy in this challenging time.
What Is The Role Of A Senior Caregiver?
The role of a senior caregiver is often undervalued and unpaid. However, family caregivers play a critical role in the long-term health and well-being of their loved ones.
1. Caregivers assess 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 it comes to noticing changes in a loved one’s health. Caregivers may also be responsible for administering medication or treatments, so it’s important that they are able to identify any potential health problems and take the necessary steps to address them.
2. Caregivers prepare a care plan.
Typically, a care plan is prepared in consultation with the individual they are caring for and other involved parties, such as doctors, nurses, and family members. 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. The care plan also serves as a communication tool between the caregiver and the client’s family or other involved parties.
3. Caregivers assist with basic needs.
There are varying levels of assistance with activities of daily living that caregivers provide, depending on the individual’s needs. Assistance may be limited to delivering environmental support, such as reminding individuals to take their medications or eat breakfast. For individuals with more significant needs, caregivers may provide hands-on personal care, 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. Caregivers provide companionship.
This is often one of the most important aspects of their job, as many seniors or people with illnesses may be isolated and lonely. Companionship can help improve mental and emotional well-being and make life more enjoyable. They offer support and friendship to people who may not have anyone else to turn to. This can be a very important service for people who are isolated or otherwise unable to socialize regularly.
5. Caregivers help with housekeeping.
Many caregivers do help with housekeeping. This can be a great benefit to the elderly person 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.
6. Caregivers monitor medications.
Caregivers often monitor medications, especially if they are caring for an elderly or disabled person. Sometimes, caregivers will be responsible for administering medications, while in other cases, they will simply remind the person taking the medication when and how to take it. Either way, the caregiver must be aware of all medications being taken by the person in their care and any potential interactions between those medications.
7. Caregivers assess the care plan regularly.
Assessing their care plan regularly will ensure that they are providing the best possible care for their elderly patients. This includes evaluating the patient’s condition and needs and making any necessary changes to the care plan to ensure that it meets those needs. Caregivers should also be sure to communicate with their patients and their families about the care plan so that everyone is aware of what is going on and everyone is on the same page. By regularly assessing and tweaking their care plan, caregivers can provide high-quality, individualized care for their patients.
8. Caregivers prepare meals.
In general, caregivers often play a role in 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 be responsible for ensuring that seniors receive enough nutrition and hydration, which can be especially important for those unable to cook or shop for themselves. In some cases, caregivers may also be responsible for feeding senior patients directly.
9. Caregivers assist with transfer and mobility.
As a caregiver, you may be assisting 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 are able to walk on their own. 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.
10. Caregivers provide transportation.
Caregivers often provide transportation for senior patients. This can be important for older adults who need help getting to doctor appointments or other necessary appointments. It can also be helpful for seniors who need assistance with grocery shopping or running errands.
Overcoming The Caregiving Isolation
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 own busy life at the same time. In fact, there are a lot of consequences associated with caregiving responsibilities, like increased risk for stress and burnout.
However, there are ways that caregivers can overcome the challenges caregiving presents. One way to combat isolation is to build a support group. This includes family members, neighbors, or the community. But how do you do that?
If you’re a family caregiver, Circleof is the app for you. It allows you to connect with your support team, who understands the unique challenges you’re facing. You can organize and collaborate with them easily, and maintain regular communication so that everyone is on the same page. Download Circleof today to build your own circle of care!