Being the senior caregiver of an elderly parent can be very rewarding. Still, it can also take a lot of hard work and determination to help them with their daily activities and keep them safe from possible accidents and injuries. To help you in your journey as a senior caregiver, here are 10 duties and responsibilities that you need to know about when taking care of an older adult. These will ensure that you’re able to help them without putting yourself at risk and that they have everything they need when they need it while maintaining your health and safety at the same time.
When seniors cannot drive or care for themselves, they may need someone to move them from one place to another. This could include appointments with doctors, family visits, or simply running errands like picking up prescriptions or groceries. Your duties as a senior caregiver will likely vary depending on your skills and comfort level. Some people choose to be more involved in their care receiver’s lives, while others prefer staying on the sidelines. A balance between these two extremes is recommended. Resource for Caregivers can assist you in better understanding it.
2) Arranging medical appointments
It’s not just about driving your loved one to doctors’ appointments. You can help organize these visits by writing down pertinent information for your loved one to take with them (insurance card numbers, doctor names, prescription instructions) or organizing all of their medical files into something easier to access if an emergency occurs. If you have any questions about what you should ask at each appointment, consult with your loved one’s doctor ahead of time. Most will be able to provide advice on what questions are most important for your specific situation and how you can get in touch quickly if there are changes in medication or diagnosis that need attention.
Making sure your loved one is eating nutritious, balanced meals is essential. The best way to ensure that he or she eats well and doesn’t become malnourished is to cook for him or her. You might also encourage them to join you when you eat out at restaurants or do something together, like going on picnics in the park or dining out at local cafes. You can also try hiring outside help like home health aides if it gets too difficult for you to do all of these things on your own—but whatever you do, don’t stop trying! If your loved one starts losing weight, becomes unsteady on his feet, has trouble remembering what he had for breakfast yesterday morning, etc., then make an appointment with his doctor.
4) Medication management
Medication management is an important part of any care plan. Be sure to check in regularly with your loved one’s doctor to ensure they are aware of any new medications your loved one may be taking and keep up with what dosage they are on. Watch for warning signs, such as missed dosages or under-dose, which can lead to depression or confusion in an elderly person. If you notice anything out of order, let your loved one’s doctor know immediately so that it can be addressed. It’s important that you and your loved one feel comfortable discussing medication management issues without feeling like it might be too much information for family members to handle.
Housekeeping is one of those tasks that many people simply don’t like to do. However, when you have an elderly parent living with you, housekeeping takes on a whole new level of importance. You are responsible for keeping your home clean for yourself, but you must make sure it’s clean for them. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to wash your dishes every day or vacuum twice a week — if your parent wants to do these things, then do them for them or hire someone else to take care of them!
A senior caregiver must always be aware of what’s going on around their loved one. This might mean checking in with family members when they visit, watching for hazards in their home (like slippery floors), or preventing falls (by avoiding medications that cause drowsiness). A senior care provider should also frequently go over instructions with them; they should understand what each medication is used for, how much water to drink, etc. The best way to do all of these things? Talk with them! Talk about things as if you were talking to a child—they may need frequent reminders. Don’t get angry or frustrated at them if they forget or seem confused about something.
7) Money Management
You must make sure your loved one is well taken care of financially. It’s important to know what bills need to be paid and how much you can spend on groceries. This will also help with budgeting for any additional expenses that arise from medical care, including prescription drugs, insurance, etc. Once you have a good grasp on his finances, you can start looking at ways to save money, so he has enough for his monthly expenses.
8) Help with daily tasks
Although senior care is often a family affair, working with your senior loved one’s caregivers can be tricky. After all, their job is to help you care for your loved one—not to befriend them or tell you what to do. At the same time, it may seem like an easy fix (pay them off), but there are many reasons not to go down that road. For example, your loved one could become attached to an individual caregiver rather than you, so fostering relationships between caregivers and families should be at the top of any senior caregiver’s list.
9) Managing their finances
Often, senior caregivers are saddled with additional duties when their aging loved ones can no longer manage their financial matters. This can include tasks like paying bills and dealing with creditors. However, managing your loved one’s finances has to be done carefully because it means handling large sums of money and because each state has its own set of laws governing who is allowed to do what, where, and why. To ensure you don’t open yourself up to legal trouble, make sure you understand exactly what you are allowed to do for your loved one in terms of financial management.
10) Fostering relationships
When your loved one arrives at a care facility, fostering relationships with staff members, other residents, and family members is important. The new environment can be overwhelming for many seniors; asking questions will help them feel more comfortable in their new setting. You may also want to invite your loved one’s friends and family over for visits or plan special events for residents and visit him/her often yourself. Also, make sure you get in touch with other families whose loved ones are living there—you might make some new friends that way. Remember that adjusting to life in a senior care facility is not easy: offer support but remember not to burden them with too many of your problems at home.
Overall, being a senior caregiver is an extremely gratifying position. As long as you are ready to take on some serious responsibility, have time to dedicate towards fulfilling your duties, and have other means of income if necessary (be it family, friends, or outside jobs). You can easily provide for yourself by becoming a senior caregiver. It gives you financial freedom, but it also allows you to help those in need. While taking care of others may seem overwhelming at first, practice makes perfect, like most things in life! So, start practicing today by taking care of your loved ones with these important tips!