Caregivers fill in the gaps of the tasks aging seniors have difficulty doing themselves. They must be flexible enough to be on call at various hours and days as needed. Caregivers also need to be great communicators who can solve problems on the go. Every day brings different challenges, and caregivers must be able to tackle them with a spirit of compassion.
Here is a partial list of typical caregiving services:
- Personal Care Services – Caregivers assist with hygiene-related tasks such as bathing, shaving, brushing teeth, getting dressed, toileting, and general grooming. A caregiver must provide personal care services while allowing seniors to be as independent as possible.
- Food Preparation and Meal Planning – Caregivers help plan out meals for the week according to the senior’s dietary needs and restrictions. This task can prove to be too difficult for them to do themselves. Caregivers also help with preparing food, cooking it, and storing it in the freezer or refrigerator to make meal preparation easier for seniors to manage.
- Providing Transportation – Caregivers may provide transportation for doctor appointments, running errands, and allowing seniors to participate in social activities. They also help transfer seniors to vehicles and assist with wheelchairs.
- Providing Companionship – Isolation can lead to loneliness and depression in seniors. Caregivers provide much-needed companionship. Caregivers also often spend time with seniors playing games, sorting photos, reading to them, or just enjoying visiting with them.
- Medication Management – Taking medications for seniors can be challenging. They get confused about which pills to take at which times. Seniors are at risk of taking too many pills or the wrong pills and becoming ill or dying. Caregivers assist in making sure they take the right medications in the right dosages at the right times.
- Providing General Healthcare Services – Caregivers are not qualified to do nursing or physician’s duties, but they do monitor a senior’s general health. When they detect a health concern, they have a duty to consult with medical professionals.
- Memory Care – Seniors who are experiencing forgetfulness due to Alzheimer’s or dementia may become confused or agitated. Family members become concerned about their loved ones’ safety. Caregivers are present to assist seniors and keep them calm when they can’t remember things.
- Providing Support for Families – It’s difficult for family members to accept that their aging family members are having increasing difficulty caring for themselves. Caregivers can ease family members’ stress and worry by providing education and suggestions for how their loved ones can best manage their lives while living at home.
Caregivers require a varied set of skills to perform their duties. They need to have good communication skills so they can communicate with seniors in their care as well as with their families.
Unusual problems will come up that will require creative thinking and problem-solving. Caregivers need to be able to think on their feet and adapt to whatever situations and challenges the day may bring. Most importantly, caregivers must always be empathetic and offer kindness and compassion to seniors and their families.