Deciding to become a caregiver for your elderly parent is a big decision. Many of us are considering that option while still having children at home, or working full time jobs. While you may think of caregiving as spending time or even “babysitting”, there are actually quite a few caregiver responsibilities that a must be considered when deciding if this is the right choice for them, their parent, and the entire family.
A caregiver cares for the overall health and safety of an individual who needs some level of assistance with daily tasks and activities. Your aging parent may require a caregiver because of an illness, an injury, loss of mobility, or even memory issues. The specific situation at hand will determine the types and level of help your parent needs. While some may simply need to be driven for errands and join you for meals, others may need daily physical therapy or more intensive emotional attention.
Long-term caregiving can be very difficult on a caregiver’s own physical and emotional health. It is important to take into account your situation, their situation, and the level of care which will be required before deciding if home care is an option, or professional help is needed. To help you with your decision, we have compiled some of the most common responsibilities of a caregiver.
9 Common Senior Caregiver Responsibilities
- Develop a Care Plan: When you first undertake caregiving, having a written plan that outlines needs and goals will help you to assess how many care hours are needed, and whether you need to ask others for help and relief on a scheduled basis. This plan should be evaluated frequently to determine if it is working for both the senior and the caregiver.
- Evaluate Medical Needs: Assessing your senior loved one’s health is an essential responsibility. Caregivers typically keep track of medical appointments, medication management and chronic pain levels. If you decide to take on this role, having an open dialogue with a trusted physician or other health professional is necessary.
- Be a Companion: One of the most overlooked parts of caregiving is actually one of the most important. While you may think the only goal is to keep them safe, older adults can experience loneliness to the point of depression. Keeping them involved in your daily routine, having regular conversations, and making time just for them will be essential to keeping a connection.
- Help with Basic Needs: Even the most basic of tasks become difficult for seniors with mobility or memory issues. Activities of daily living (known as ADLs) include bathing, eating, dressing and toileting, and may require additional assistance from you as the senior ages.
- Housekeeping Help: If you are caregiving for your loved one in their own home, you may need to help them with basic housekeeping such as doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, or vacuuming. Yard work will add an additional level of commitment, so you may wish to hire a lawn care service to keep the outside looking neat and maintained.
- Manage Medications: The typical senior citizen takes several prescription medications. Caregivers often need to keep track of medications, familiarize themselves with drug dangers and interactions, monitor dosage, and prevent overmedicating.
- Prepare Meals: Seniors often lose the motivation to prepare food and eat healthy meals. Often, memory or balance issues may even make cooking a dangerous endeavor. Caregivers will help with grocery shopping, cooking meals, or finding easy alternative meals for your loved one to maintain proper nutrition.
- Help with Mobility Issues: Falls are a major risk to seniors. Older adults may struggle with moving around or getting out of bed in the morning. As a caregiver, you can proactively prevent falls and help your loved one stay safe.
- Provide Transport: Driving may no longer be safe, and many seniors are not comfortable with public transportation. Caregivers will either transport their loved ones to appointments and events, or have to hire someone to do so.
Sometimes there is simply too much need or required care for a home caregiver. If you have decided that an assisted living or memory care facility is the best option for your loved one, A Banyan Residence of Venice would like to welcome you for a private tour. We will take care of your family member as if they were ours.