Statistics show one in four people will serve as a family caregiver at some point in their life. A family caregiver is generally defined as someone, typically a relative, who is responsible for attending to the emotional and physical needs of an aging loved one.
Sometimes, family caregivers assume a temporary role if a loved one trips and falls and requires sudden care during their recovery. Others become caregivers for aging loved ones who are no longer able care for themselves. No matter how you begin your caregiving journey, it’s important to understand responsibilities to prepare for the future.
Although a family caregiver’s work varies with different sets of duties each day, many of the following tasks are performed at some point in the care journey.
1. Personal Care
The natural aging process can make it difficult for seniors to keep up with personal hygiene. As a caregiver, you will assist your loved one with personal tasks to help them look and feel their best and maintain proper hygiene. This may include helping with bathing, grooming and toileting.
2. Mobility Assistance
Following an injury or illness or if your loved one is physically handicapped, he or she may experience limitations. As a caregiver, it’s your job to assist with a range of physical abilities to improve mobility. This may include transporting them to and from doctor’s appointments, or positioning him or her in beds and chairs to alleviate muscle strain. Helping in these areas significantly contributes to the physical well being of your loved one.
3. Food Preparation
Maintaining a healthy diet can impact vitality for aging or injured seniors. Caregivers are in charge of shopping for groceries, monitoring nutrition levels and preparing meals.
If you’re caring for a loved one who lives at home, you may assist with light housekeeping to ensure a safe and clean environment. Housekeeping duties may include dusting, vacuuming and sweeping the main walk areas, washing the dishes or folding the laundry.
5. Long-Term Care Planning
If your loved one’s health is quickly declining, you may work with the rest of your family to develop a care plan, outlining healthcare decisions and final wishes. As the caregiver, it’s important to have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure he or she receives as consistent of care as possible.
6. Emotional Support
In the midst of all these responsibilities, caregivers are also tasked with providing loved ones with emotional support. Beyond your role as a caregiver, you’re seen as a companion that they can rely on when it comes to every aspect of life, including emotional, mental and physical matters.
Outside of caring for your loved one, know your own limits and take time for yourself. For help, read our post 3 Self-Care Tips for Caregivers.
>>>Do you know a Northeast Ohio caregiver who has selflessly helped others? Nominate them for the Busch Caregiver Award.
How to Have Conversations about Preplanning with Your Aging Loved One
While caregiving is quite challenging at times, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. To set yourself up for success as a caregiver, we encourage you to have conversations about preplanning before an accident occurs. By discussing these matters ahead of time, you can ensure final wishes are met. To learn how preplanning can save time, money and worry, download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements.