Have you found yourself in the role of a caregiver? Perhaps your loved one needs extra help with activities of daily living and you’re the person providing care? Your family member could be experiencing an injury, illness, memory or mobility challenges, or chronic conditions that make independence more challenging. As a caregiver, you can help make life easier for them and bond with your loved one on a new level.
As a caregiver, you’ll wear many hats such as cleaning, grocery shopping, handling medications, and more. Your daily to-do list will depend on what your loved one needs from you, but here are the top 10 roles we find caregivers fill across the board:
It is up to you to keep track of your loved one’s doctor appointments, medications, therapy, pain levels, and more. We recommend developing a routine for both monitoring and providing at-home treatment, as well as maintaining a strong, trusting relationship with your loved one’s physician and other members of their medical team to stay on top of medical needs as they can change over time.
Your loved one may have more doctor and specialist appointments these days, but it is not always safe for them to drive. They will likely rely on you to drive them to and from their destination, as well as assist them in and out of the vehicle.
Those who struggle with memory challenges such as dementia or Alzheimer’s may not be able to operate a stove safely, so caregivers will need to help prepare their meals for them. In addition, sometimes seniors forget to eat or have issues chewing and swallowing safely, so making sure they have a healthy diet and consume their meals is extremely important.
A care plan is used in the event your loved one is in the hospital or needs additional care and cannot speak for themselves. It lists out their preferences as it relates to medical care. You can use this care plan to help you communicate effectively with their medical team, make sure those preferences are met, and determine how to proceed with their medical needs.
As we age, it is important that we have our legal house in order. As a caregiver, it can be your responsibility to make sure that things like life insurance and wills are up to date and legally accurate. You may also find yourself responsible for handling your loved one’s finances, making sure bills are paid on time and medical expenses are properly charged, as well.
Transferring is a term used by medical staff to move someone from one location to another, such as from the bed to the couch. If your loved one has severe mobility issues, they may not be able to move about their home by themselves. You may have to assist with transfers to help them remain safe.
Everyone needs a confidant who they can trust. Your loved one will rely on you to maintain your current relationship as their spouse, child, grandchild, friend, etc. Just because you now have more intimate duties than before, make sure you are still valuing that relationship that brought you into the caregiver role. Your friend or family member loves and trusts you tremendously to accept this much help from you.
Seniors can experience mobility challenges as they become older, so hygiene may become more difficult. Caregivers are often responsible for assisting with hygiene such as bathing, teeth brushing, changing clothes, and assisting in the restroom.
Housekeeping is also more difficult if your loved one struggles with mobility. If you are unable to tackle this responsibility in addition to your other caregiving duties, consider hiring a housekeeper to maintain the home, as well as keep the clothes and dishes clean.
Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities of a caregiver is serving as an advocate. Your loved one may no longer be able to speak for themselves and they will rely on you to do that for them.
As you can see, the role of a caregiver is quite intimate and should not be taken lightly. You should have others helping you in your caregiver journey and should not go at it alone. If you need assistance with your caregiver responsibilities, Park View is here to help! We offer options for long-term and respite care to ensure that your loved one is safe, healthy, and happy.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Park View Estates, contact our friendly team today.