Caregiver Responsibilities for Taking Care of the Elderly

Old age is usually synonymous with reducing some of our physical abilities. Therefore, the nurses and caregivers play an essential role in taking care of the elderly. The elderly caregivers have several duties related to cleaning, shopping, cooking, helping, and managing health and medication. In today’s article of Living Maples, we will review the roles of the elderly caregiver.

Who Is a Caregiver?

The term “caregiver” refers to anyone who cares for someone’s health and well-being and aids the person in daily tasks. Due to an injury, illness, or old age, we might need one. These conditions make it difficult for the elderly to cope with their daily activities.

Depending on the senior’s condition, they might need special care, which the family members cannot provide.

The Roles of the Elderly Caregiver

The roles and duties of the elderly may differ every day since the elderly might experience different moods and require various treatments. However, some basic tasks are the same when caring for seniors. Here, we will look at the most critical roles of the elderly caregiver.

Medical Evaluation Checking the health of our beloved seniors is an essential responsibility of a caregiver. The caregiver may check the medical appointments, manage medications, and evaluate the pain level. They also have to contact the family doctor regularly to report the senior’s condition.

Care Plan Preparation

This plan is intended to track the needs and goals of the elderly. This plan will determine how many hours of care the elderly need during the day. The care plan also assesses the condition of the elderly and helps the caregiver make decisions regarding the need for additional help.

Evaluating Basic Needs

Some seniors suffer from various memory and mobility issues, making it difficult to do everyday tasks such as bathing, eating, grooming, etc. As one of the roles of the elderly caregiver, they should help the elderly fulfill their basic needs.

The Companionship of the Caregiver

Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression prevalent during old age. Some of the elderly are living alone due to losing their spouse or leaving the children. Companionship is one of the most critical roles of the elderly caregiver. Loneliness can lead to severe health problems. While caring for the elderly, the caregiver can provide opportunities to strengthen their bond and connection.

Housekeeping

Aging can make it challenging to do the daily cleaning tasks. Some tasks of the elderly such as washing the dishes, vacuuming, and daily maintenance, need help. Furthermore, there are different tasks such as yard work, daily maintenance, and shovelling, which may be too difficult for the elderly to handle. If the caregiver cannot manage all these tasks, the elderly can benefit from the help of the senior living community.

Cooking

senior woman is cooking with help of her caregiver

Aging makes it challenging to cook. If the elderly live alone, they may find it challenging to cook. In some cases, memory and balance issues may make cooking dangerous. Caregivers can help with grocery shopping, preparing meals, or finding alternatives to ensure the proper nutrition of the elderly.

Medication Management

Seniors might need to take several medicines during the day. It is difficult for the elderly to remember all these medicines and take them on time. Thanks to various medicine management apps, the elderly or the caregiver can handle medication management. The caregiver help lower the risk of overmedicating by creating reminder systems and monitoring the medication usage of the elderly.

Care Plan Assessment

We mentioned that creating a care plan is one of the roles of the elderly caregiver. However, the condition and needs of the elderly are not always the same, and the caregiver should adjust the plan regularly. They should review the plan regularly to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be adapted. The caregiver should keep in close contact with the doctor and other health professionals to discuss any changes.

Helping with Mobility

Caregiver wheeling a senior on wheelchair

Falls are among the most severe problems of the elderly. Seniors might find it difficult to move or walk. Some of the elderly might need a wheelchair to move. The caregiver should take the elderly out to the yard to expose them to the sun. The elderly caregiver should take steps to help prevent falls and help the elderly stay safe and comfortable.

Transportation

The elderly might not be able to use public transportation. Driving is no longer safe for the elderly. The caregiver should look for alternative transportations to take the elderly to appointments.

Characteristics of an Excellent Elderly Caregiver

Compassion and Kindness

Kindness and compassion are the essential characteristics that every elderly caregiver should have. So, for an older person, doing simple tasks can be challenging, and even the simplest tasks can require the help of a caregiver, who must communicate with the older person in a way that is easy for him or her to do. A good caregiver understands the elderly well and knows how the elderly feel in the face of these challenges.

Respect

As people get older and begin to lose control of their physical and mental abilities, their independence in doing things decreases, making the elderly need more respect. Facing daily challenges such as loss of sensation, memory impairment, and physical disabilities place a responsibility on the older caregiver, caring for the caregiver and letting them know that they are as strong and vital as before. To do this, respect for the elderly and show patience, love, and kindness are essential characteristics of the elderly caregiver.

Patience 

Patience is something that selfish people do not have and can not be bought with money, but it only originates from the heart. Elderly caregivers know how tedious it can be to care for an older person. Hence, while caring for the elderly, simple tasks can become more complex and take longer to complete. Therefore, they need to be patient enough to do their best despite these issues and care for the elderly without fatigue or weakness.

Communication

Caregiver communicating with an elderly while combing her hair

The ability to communicate is essential for the elderly caregiver. Older people often seek refuge in their inner world and are cut off from the outside world or suffer from dementia or Alzheimer‘s. Furthermore, understanding and deciphering a patient’s needs in such situations requires a particular skill that senior caregivers must perform their duties.

Creativity

Creativity is one of the valuable skills for caregivers and can help them perform their roles. For the elderly caregiver whose profession is to improve the patient’s quality of life, thinking beyond what has been predicted and determined can lead to new ways and means of guiding and interacting with them and making a pleasant change in the rhythm of their daily lives.

More Resources:

Source aginginplace care
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Arnold
Arnold
11 months ago

At first, I am grateful for this beautiful content. I am a nursing student in Canada; I really like work as a caregiver for seniors. I have a good suggestion for you: you can introduce some majors like caregiving, nursing or something like this because young people like me are maybe interested in this major and choose it as a professional future. I believe many of us can start caregiver or nursing jobs. 

Leonid
Leonid
11 months ago

Caregiving is not simple. If people think they won’t be able to do it, they must find someone who can take care of their loved ones.

Luke
Luke
Reply to  Leonid
7 months ago

And finding someone to trust is not that easy! I spend about two months searching for a friendly, gentle, and of course, trusting caregiver. It takes a lot of effort to find good ones.

Jake
Jake
11 months ago

I really admire and respect caregivers. I think they are gems we don’t treasure enough. Moreover, I think most of the time we underestimate how hard a caregiver’s job can be. I hope more and more people become caregivers, although it’s a tough job, and I hope society learns to appreciate them for what they do.

James Collins
James Collins
11 months ago

Caregivers have a big responsibility to work with elders. Because they are more sensitive than young people due to particular situations. However, working with seniors is not awful because we can learn many things from them. So as a caregiver we have to behave respectfully and have enough patience. In fact, we should prepare a suitable environment for seniors till they never feel stressed. 

Ethan
Ethan
Reply to  James Collins
7 months ago

Exactly. And we should remember that some people might not react positively to the idea of having a caregiver, even if they are patient and kind people. My grandma, for example, could not bear having someone she didn’t know in her house. I think this could also be the case with many other senior adults as it’s a sudden change in their lifestyle. Though I believe caregivers need to stay patient and respectful until the person has complete trust in them. They should also be ready to accept that not everyone will get used to having a nurse or a caregiver around them for most of the day, no matter how stoic you are with them.

John.K
John.K
8 months ago

Despite providing home care, caregivers are involved with the preparation of the meals. Also, you may end up cooking with your caregiver too. The best part is that if the patient is not on a specific diet, you can cook whatever you want. Housekeeping is also a part of the caregiver’s job. Some patients, especially older adults, are physically weak to perform specific chores. Finally, you’ll be providing companionship. It does not always have to be emotional support. You can share amusing stories with your patient. All patients enjoy hearing entertaining and exciting stories.

Mana
Mana
8 months ago

Alongside these characteristics, I think a caregiver must be mentally healthy. Nowadays, it’s a little hard to trust a stranger, especially when it comes to your beloved. I’ve heard of many cases of abuse or drug-addicted nurses. Is there any mental health test before employing them?

Liliane
Liliane
Reply to  Mana
7 months ago

As far as I know, most centers providing caregivers do plenty of tests regarding their mental and physical health in addition to training them. So if you hire a caregiver from a reputable center, you don’t need to worry about anything. Besides, the centers have a 24/7 support system, so you can be in touch in a blink if you get suspicious of anything.

Charlotte
Charlotte
8 months ago

It depends on what the person being cared for needs. I was the primary caregiver for my 58 year old wife; a professional nurse also aided me. My wife was disabled by a genetic disease called Huntington’s Disease.
I bathed her, washed her hair, changed her clothes, brushed her hair, fed her, changed her sheets, rubbed her feet, talked with her, read to her, played movies.
In short, I was her link to the world and did everything for her that she could not do.
This was an extreme case. Other folks may not need the same level of care.

Ted
Ted
Reply to  Charlotte
7 months ago

Thank You, Charlotte. I am 67 years old, and I just became a caregiver for my mom a year and a half ago. My mom has intermediate to advanced dementia, and she always sleeps all day and half the night. I am learning caregiving. I never knew what it was. I am trying to know when we should have a professional caregiver come into the home and help take care of my mother. She usually gives the family a tough time with disillusions and irritations when she is not resting, but we love her.

Fred
Fred
6 months ago

I was my wife’s caregiver for years, and it was tough. She got mean at the end, and I just had to go on automatic pilot and do what needed to be done—no rest…no nothing.
She was very difficult and refused to wear diapers. So she messed her underwear & shorts every day. 
I didn’t neglect her… I was just sleeping in another room, dead to the world because I was exhausted.
Don’t look to be rewarded for your efforts…
Caregiving is the kind of job you will love, or you will hate. I remember hating myself at the end.

Marriah
Marriah
5 months ago

Caregiving is a complex of duties and responsibilities, including cooking, housekeeping, and taking care of another person mentally and physically. So it’s so much more challenging and more complicated than most people imagine. Sometimes caregivers play a role of a psychologist, doctor, chef, and good friend to their patients. Managing these skills and doing all these responsibilities could take their whole mental energy. I respect them so much cause I think they’re doing something that most of us can not handle for just a single day!