This concise caregiver description is basic.
It's based on my own experience of taking care of my elderly father, including when he lived with me starting at age 93. And also based on feedback from associates and people I have interviewed and worked with.
It will give you a fairly accurate idea of what being a caregiver entails. I know I wasn't expecting a lot of it, and I thought I was prepared!
Caregiving is a role that is quickly increasing due to the rapid aging of the population. It may be taken on by choice, or one may be catapulted into it by life’s events.
And it is essential to assess whether a person should be providing this important function (or if other alternatives should be considered).
A simple caregiver
description would be that it is someone who, obviously, cares for another person
or more than one. This could be the elderly, but also those with
disabilities or young children. Hours can range from part time to long,
full time hours, especially if you’re caring for a family member. And if you're caring for your own kids plus an elderly family member.
is often given in the home, as in my case. But caregivers also work in facilities such
as nursing homes and assisted living. Still, only so much care could be given to Dad when he was in assisted living -- or we'd have to pay for his extra needs. He had extreme hearing and vision loss. Thus I was visiting him daily and also caregiving for him while he was in assisted living! This was not something I'd planned on.
In many caregiving situations,
well-rounded help is needed. This means not only helping with the
person’s physical assistance and daily/weekly routine, perhaps a variety
of elderly issues, but also emotional and social needs. Very few people have all of the skills necessary, at least to do this at home. I was able to help Dad because he was in such good shape and very independent with ambulation, transferring, much grooming, etc.
See our page on
to help define more detail regarding a caregiver description. For instance, I eventually had to have a foot care nurse visit once a month to help groom Dad's feet. I no longer could, and it had become a stress.
The level of training needed varies, and so does the pay. A family member may not have or need any formal training. They just do it. I'd had some experience with seniors when managing a large independent living complex, and that definitely helped.
But to work within the healthcare industry itself, certification may be required. Additionally, some facilities give their own training or sponsor the necessary training of the employee.
Requirements can differ from state to state. Generally speaking, this could range from being a Certified Home Health Aid, Certified Personal Care Assistant, Certified Nursing Assistant; or even a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Registered Nurse (RN), depending on the caregiving circumstances and skills needed.
In all fairness to the person being cared for (and the caregiver too), a caregiver description means be healthy, strong in body, patient, compassionate and kind, organized, and able to maintain inner strength.
Cheerfulness and sense of humor go a long way. I certainly found this out when caring for Dad -- and he was easy since he was so cheerful. I can only image if he'd had a challenging personality. Frankly, I could not have then done it myself. I keep telling this to a friend who sometimes felt badly that she was not also caring for her parent. But BIG difference in our parents' temperment -- and that can make it or break it sometimes.
Dependability is also necessary. This is crucial since your client or patient may utterly depend on you, like Dad did. His schedule became mine, and there was no other option.
Many of the caregiver duties require stamina and patience. Caring for someone for any length of time can be exhausting, so the caregiver really needs to be able to take care of her/himself and know their own limitations. See our page on Crucial Caregiver Care. So a caregiver description must involve these personal traits as well.
Caregiving can be extremely rewarded work, yet often under-appreciated. It is certainly not for everyone. And I personally would not recommend it for anyone. If at all possible, careful consideration should be made before taking on this important role.
Sometimes circumstance dictate what happens in our lives, and we think there is no way out. Yet with a little thinking, networking, and research, we can find many options available to help us.
Be sure to also read:
Care For Elderly In Home - Tips and Ideas
-- Care for elderly in home takes a lot of planning, whether a loved
one is staying in their own home or moving in with someone else (perhaps
you). Here are some great tips and ideas to consider, including having
Elderly Help - Making A Plan -- Do you need an elderly help Plan? If you're caring for a loved one, you may surprised at what you'll need to know about. Success is in the details.
Fundamentals of Caregiving -- What is caregiving all about exactly? This page contains information about typical elderly caregiving provided by either a senior home care service, in assisted living facilities, or nursing homes where you or your loved one may live, even if temporarily. After you read our related pages you will have a very good idea about what to expect, what to ask caregivers, and possible sharing of caregiver duties.