Some of the duties of an elderly caregiver can include cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, managing medications, and helping with medical appointments. However, caregiver responsibilities will ultimately depend on health and needs of the person under care.
A caregiver is someone who cares for the health and well-being of a person who needs help with daily tasks and activities. Your aging loved one may need a caregiver due to an injury, an illness, limited mobility, memory issues, or chronic conditions that make everyday chores more challenging.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are approximately 43.5 million caregivers providing unpaid care to an adult or child every year, with over 85% providing care to a relative or loved one.
Depending on the level of support provided, long-term caregiving can take a toll on the caregiver’s physical and emotional health. Consider your loved one’s condition and your health and skills to determine whether in-home care is appropriate, or if more specialized care is needed.
While your senior caregiving duties may vary each day, some basic tasks remain the same when caring for an aging parent or senior loved one.
In taking on the role of caregiver for an elderly loved one, you can expect to:
1. Assess medical needs
Checking on your senior loved one’s health is an important caregiver responsibility. You may need to help assess pain levels, schedule medical appointments, or manage medications and chronic conditions. It’s a good idea to discuss your loved one’s health with their doctor and other health professionals regularly.
2. Prepare a care plan
Preparing a care plan that addresses your senior loved one’s care needs and goals can be helpful when you begin your caregiving journey. A plan can help you determine how many daily hours of care your loved one will require and whether you need additional help to ensure their health and safety.
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3. Assist with basic needs
Memory and mobility issues can make activities of daily living (ADLs) — such as eating, bathing, grooming, and toileting — difficult to perform without a caregiver. Check in often and pay attention to specific signs and changes to determine if your loved one needs extra help.
4. Provide companionship
One of the most essential but sometimes overlooked parts of senior caregiving is companionship. Feelings of loneliness in older adults can lead to serious health consequences, including depression. When you care for an aging loved one, you’re creating opportunities to strengthen your bond and connection.
5. Help with housekeeping
As your loved one ages, maintaining a home can become increasingly difficult. Older adults may need help with vacuuming, doing the dishes, or taking out the garbage. If your loved one lives in a house, yard work like snow shoveling and daily maintenance may be too much for them to handle — even with your help. Consider whether your loved one would benefit from the convenience and support of a senior living community.
6. Monitor medications
Older adults often take several prescription medications to treat chronic conditions. Your loved one may need help keeping track of their medication list, understanding drug interactions, and taking prescribed dosages at the right time. You can help lower your loved one’s risk of medication mix-ups and associated health problems by monitoring their medications and creating reminder systems.
7. Assess your care plan regularly
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As circumstances surrounding you and your loved one inevitably change, the care plan will need to be adjusted. Review your caregiver duties list regularly to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be adapted. Keep in close contact with your loved one’s doctor and other health professionals to discuss any changes.
8. Prepare meals
Food preparation can become increasingly difficult with age. If your loved one lives alone, they may lack the energy or motivation to cook. In some cases, memory and balance issues may make cooking unsafe. As a caregiver, you can help with shopping for groceries, preparing meals, or finding alternatives to make sure your loved one gets proper nutrition.
9. Assist with transfer and mobility
Falls are a major risk to the health of older adults. Your loved one may have difficulty moving or transferring — from their bed in the morning to a chair in the afternoon, for instance. As a caregiver, you can take steps to help prevent falls and help your loved one stay safe and comfortable.
10. Provide transportation
As your loved one ages, public transportation or driving may no longer be safe options. You might need to look for senior transportation alternatives to get your loved one to doctor’s appointments and other activities.
If you feel like you need more help caring for your aging loved one or think they’d benefit from a senior living community, contact one of A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors today to learn more about what you can do to help your loved one receive the care they deserve.
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.