Becoming a caregiver for either a family member or anyone else that needs assistance in their elderly lives, is a tremendously worthwhile act for anyone capable, to do. Not only do you get to spend time with your loved ones but you can ensure, that as a family member, you provide them with the best care they deserve in their later stage of life.
You, as the primary caregiver, will not need to worry about hiring any outside help and leaving them in the hands of someone you may not know who may or may not be as empathetic as you are.
A caregiver’s responsibilities include several things, and this article covers these and more for you to decide whether you would be in the position to become one for a family member at home.
Responsibilities of a Caregiver
Someone who is capable of becoming a carer to ensure their health and well-being is well taken care of is someone who will be responsible for many activities and daily tasks. Perhaps you need to care for someone who has had an injury or is incapable of mobility, sometimes they may be sick or suffering from a chronic condition and need help in performing tasks they may be able to do themselves and find challenging.
There are a few duties that you may need to undertake and these include:
Preparing a Concise Care Plan
This requires takes into consideration the elderly person’s goals and needs and is helpful in their journey of living a comfortable life or recovery from an illness. You would need to decide how many hours per day you will be looking after them and if you need any additional help in assessing their condition, safety and health needs.
Assessing Their Medical Needs
An important task for any carer is to make sure they assess the senior person’s health on a regular basis. You may need to track their medical records and appointments, as well as give them their medication in the case of an illness or chronic condition. Discussing this with their GP or medical professional is a significant and advisable thing to do and to do it regularly.
Help Them with Their Basic Needs
Helping them with their basic needs, such as bathing, eating, walking, grooming, and any “activity of daily living” is also part of your responsibility. You need to be astute and pay attention to and changes in their behavior or any signs that they are not doing well, in which case you should have their doctors’ contact details at hand at all times.
You Need to Be a Companion
Proving them with companionship is one of the underlying ways to take care of any family member. This is an often ignored or overlooked aspect with many, however, needs to be addressed, as this can be a lonely and confusing time for them, especially if they suffer from any memory problems or conditions such as Alzheimer’s, which affects their behavior, thinking and memory, and is extremely common in elderly folk.
The Alzheimer’s Association has some in-depth information regarding this which you can access on their website: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers#, having an understanding of this can give you a better idea of how to handle it accurately. Proving companionship should be on top of your list, as without it, the patient can get easily depressed. Creating a connection as well as a bond can help tremendously.
Helping with Housekeeping Duties
As a paid caregiver, one of the things that are included in the list of chores is to help with housekeeping. As your family members get older, they tend to get slower and incapable of doing the simplest things like cooking, cleaning and doing their laundry for instance. As a paid caregiver, you will need to help them with daily tasks such as vacuuming, dusting, cleaning, washing their dishes, taking out the garbage, if they have a garden either you or a hired gardener will need to maintain it.
If these tasks, are too much for you to handle, you can also consider placing them in an elderly home where they or you, do not need to do anything outside of helping and visiting them regularly.
Cooking and Preparing Their Meals
When people get old, one of the things that can get difficult is cooking for themselves. This is where you, as a carer come in, to help them with their dietary needs. Cooking for them different sustainable dishes, or according to their doctors recommended dietary plan, needs to be done daily, sometimes three times a day.
If you are too busy handling your day job and caring for them at the same time, you can plan and cook their food and freeze it the day before, and when you get home or to their house, you can take it out and heat it and give it to them. Those who live alone, may not be able to do this by themselves, in which case, you will need to do it for them or hire help to do it.
This will also include doing the grocery shopping and making sure they get proper nutrition and their meals are cooked fresh and daily.
Assisting with Transportation and Mobility Requirements
Mobility issues are a very common problem a lot of elderly family members go through, and as a result, they can easily fall either in the bathtub, shower or anywhere in the house. Helping them with mobility issues as well as when they need transportation, should be a primary responsibility as a helper.
When you decide to become a paid caregiver the tasks associated with it don’t end at the doorstep but also outside the house. If they want to go for a walk, you will need to be there to take them out to the park or a stroll around the neighborhood.
Lastly, you should be assessing their care plan regularly and sometimes if this means adjusting it, then so be it. But always keep them first and make sure all decisions are to the elderly’s benefit. If you need to move them to a care home, and they can communicate and understand what you are saying, then speak to them about how they will feel about it.