What Does a Caregiver for Elder Care Do?
April 06 2020
Duties and Responsibilities of Caregiver
An elder care caregiver (sometimes also called a personal care aide) is a non-medical professional who assists an elderly person in a way that allows them to live as independently as possible in their own home. Though caregivers are non-medical, some do have extra licensing and are referred to as home health aides. These home health aides do all the same things as the non-medical caregivers, but their extra training allows them to take a person’s vitals and work with those who have specialized care needs related to specific conditions or illnesses. The non-medical caregivers can also be part of a home care team that includes nurses or physical therapists if the person also requires medical care. Now let’s take a look at what a personal care aide can do for you or your elderly loved one.
Duties and Responsibilities
Caregiver duties and responsibilities can vary greatly as no two senior’s needs are the same. This may have to do with what stage of life the senior is in or how close or far away family lives. However, a caregiver’s main goal is to allow an elderly person to “age in place” safely and with a sense of independence. Duties range from assisting with hygiene to meal preparation. The following are just some of the many daily living tasks that an eldercare caregiver can do for you or your loved one.
Helping with Mobility
As we age we lose the ability to move as freely as we once did. Many seniors are a fall risk and a caregiver is there to ensure that the senior is safe while moving about their home or even outside, helping them avoid injury. These caregivers can also help to transfer those who are less mobile, such as assisting someone with moving from a wheelchair to the toilet.
Ensuring Good Personal Hygiene and Care
With a loss in mobility, it can often become difficult to do daily living tasks, such as bathing, brushing your teeth, shaving and toileting. A caregiver is able to assist with these personal hygiene tasks whether it is offering assistance during bathing, brushing their hair, assisting with denture cleaning or helping a person get dressed.
Assisting with Meals and Nutrition
Many seniors’ appetites shrink as they age so it is key that the food they do eat is nutrient rich. It can also be harder on us to prepare meals as we age. A Personal caregiver can assist with meal preparation, ensuring that the food your loved one eats is nutritious and healthy and that sticks to a diet recommended by a doctor.
A caregiver also offers basic cleaning and repair skills. They can help wash the dishes, unclog toilets, dust, change light bulbs and do the laundry.
Assisting with Medications and Medical Advocacy
While caregivers are non-medical, they can remind you or your loved one to take your medications properly and on time. They can also assist with ordering refills from the pharmacy, double checking that the medication dispensed is the correct medication and keeping track of when it is time to renew a prescription. Since caregivers spend so much time with their charges, they are also able to keep an eye out for any changes in the senior’s health and report those changes to a family member or a doctor. They can also ensure medical appointments are scheduled on time.
When we get older, it can be hard to get out and socialize and do other activities as we once did. This can often cause feelings of isolation and depression. One of the other important roles a caregiver serves is as a companion. Caregivers offer friendly conversation and can help you do the things you love, such as play chess, garden or play the guitar. Relationships make a difference in our lives. Not only do they bring us joy and a sense of belonging, but relationships can also make a difference in how a senior fights against illness or whether or not they stick to a strict diet.
Driving can become a safety issue for many seniors. Even taking public transit can become more difficult. Some caregivers offer transportation services. They can take seniors to social events, doctor appointments or run errands, such as shopping for groceries.
Is an Elder Care Personal Caregiver Right for You?
If you or your loved one are having difficulties with daily living activities or even if you just need some companionship, a caregiver is right for you. Don’t wait until you or your loved one needs help with all of these things. Caregivers give help where it is needed and step back when you or your loved one is able to do something independently. As needs change, their duties change or add on. Their goal is to ensure safety, health and happiness as a person ages in place, meaning that seniors can more fully enjoy their life while living at home.