Elderly caregiver duties vary, depending on needs.
So what comes to mind when you think of elder caregivers?
Senior home care? Elderly long-term care in assisted living facilities?
A nursing home, or memory care facility?
Caregiving is one of the growing elderly issues, and all of these scenarios are common today. The elderly caregiver, therefore, certainly could be you. Or partially you. In my case, it was first partially me and then fully me. And that made a huge difference.
It is very possible that at some point you will need part-time or full-time caregiving from the outside, such as elderly home care, either for yourself or a loved one.
I definitely needed to know this for myself, and also in the event that I would need additional help in caring for my dad. But what could I expect regarding duties a caregiver would provide?
About Caregiver Duties
Clarification of your needs vs. elderly caregiver duties that are available is crucial before proceeding with obtaining senior care, either from an outside senior service, or in an elderly long-term care facility.
This is especially true if progressing elderly problems or illnesses are involved, particularly dementia. Our family had to really assess the needs of our Dad before we made decisions as to what I could and could not handle.
The best approach is to first thoroughly know what you’re dealing with and then begin making a plan for your care of elderly. to help with fundamentals of caregiving.
It is vital to assess the needs of your loved one realistically in order to provide the necessary care, and to ensure that you are not over-extending yourself beyond your limits. Don’t pretend you can handle something if you have a feeling in the back of your mind that maybe you can’t.
Many caregiver duties are very personal
– to the patient, as with my father, and you should discuss with your loved one whether they have a preference or need for a male or female attendant. Any safety issues should also be discussed. Needless to say, an attitude that is caring and respectful should always be maintained by the caregiver toward the patient and any elderly problems.
Main Caregiver Duties
In working with my father and other caregivers, we have developed some of the top caregiver duties that may need to be performed by either you and/or an outside person(s).
- Grooming assistance – Brushing teeth, washing, shaving, fingernail and toenail care, etc. (Most of this I did handle with Dad, but eventually had someone come in for his toe and fingernail care, which he loved).
- Assisting with dressing — Can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes in the morning and/or evening.Sometimes it’s just a matter of someone being present, just in case, letting the elderly person do as much as they can.
- Shampoo and bathing – Assistance getting in the shower or bath. May include help with actual bathing. The caregiver is usually present the entire time, not leaving the patient alone. (Dad could handle all this himself, even at a ripe old age. But I always sat right outside the bathroom. We never had any problems). The number of times per week should be discussed.
- Transferring – Examples: from chair, toilet, bed, into vehicle. Some elderly need only a minimal amount of help. There are a variety of aids and devices for bed-side and chair-side assistance too. You may get a million mail order catalogs, like we do.
- Toileting – Different types of assistance may be needed. Especially important is dryness and cleanliness – for comfort and hygiene (for prevention of bacteria spreading). Discuss full details with the prospective caregiver. And also the elderly person being helped. Dad like to always have pop-up wipes products available in the bathroom. Also discuss safety bars and devices that may be needed at the toilet area, as well as a portable toilet near the bed, for nighttime and naps.
- Medication – All medication assistance must be administered with strict adherence to doctors’ orders. No changes should be made without family and doctor approval. However, help can be as simple as assuring medication is taken, to preparation, to actual administration. Elderly often forget about correct dosages, time of day, etc., so although it is important to include them in discussion, they may not ultimately be relied upon for medication decisions.
- Meal preparation and serving – Which meals and how many times per week. A nutritious menu must be discussed and approved, consistent with the patient’s dietary requirements and doctor’s orders. Any eating difficulties must be discussed (such as with chewing, or digestion issues).
- Mail and newspaper – Brought in daily. Decisions should be made regarding who will read and deal with the mail if the patient has vision or cognitive impairment.This is an especially important to consider if no family member lives nearby, since mail can be confidential and personal.
- Housekeeping – Caregiver duties can include cleaning, making beds, doing dishes, laundry, ironing as needed, cleaning kitchen and bathroom, and especially maintaining sanitation.
- Sanitation – This could include, aside from personal sanitation, regular garbage removal, ensuring sanitary bathroom areas, making sure pet areas are clean and home is free of pet messes, and cleaning out old or tainted food in the fridge and cupboards.
- Transportation – To and from appointments, stores, entertainment, adult day care.
- Errands and shopping – The patient/client may be able to go out with escort assistance, or errands may need to be done by the caregiver.
- Ambulation assistance or exercise – Whether the patient/client is able to walk or is confined to a wheelchair, it is important to exercise regularly. (See our page on exercise for seniors — my Dad was a champ at this). There are also exercises available for most wheelchair and bed-ridden elderly. The doctor may have given guidelines for exercise, so discuss the type of walking or exercise needed and how frequently.
- Management of symptoms – If the patient suffers from an illness that causes pain, rashes, lesions, swelling, breathing difficulties, etc., the doctor’s recommendations for procedures must be discussed. This may involve skilled nursing care.
- Therapy – Either occupational or physical. This may be part of elderly home care, or the patient may go to an outside physical therapy facility. Many continuous care campuses have physical therapy on site.
- Emergency service – Make sure you have an emergency contact sheet hanging on the refrigerator that lists the family contact, any serious elderly problems, primary care doctor, any specialists, hospital, pharmacy, etc.You may also want a DNR form (Do Not Resuscitate) as well. Discuss whether the caregiver will administer CPR before or after dialing 911. The caregiver should be qualified in order to do this.
- Medical care – Caregiver duties provided by an RN or LPN, hospice staff (or else staff in the facility) depending on the circumstances and as recommended by a doctor.
- Hospice care – Hospice care is usually in duration of 6 months or less, to keep patient physically and emotionally comfortable during transition period. Hospice service is ordered by the doctor. Hospice care may occur in the home or in a facility. It may be covered by Medicare.
- Short-term respite care – A senior home care service can come in to give the family caregiver a break either for a few hours or even days. Discuss which caregiver duties will need to be performed during that time. Another option is bringing the elderly person to a respite care facility. Be sure you are clear on what will be provided.
- Communicating – Both progress and any issues should be communicated by a healthcare service with the family. If you find a caregiver is not working out, you should feel free to discuss this and request a replacement. And this certainly does happen.
- Companionship – Assisting with attendance at social events, escorting to adult day care, or the caregiver provides social activities such as reading aloud to the patient/client, playing games, simply watching a favorite movie with them, or doing crafts and hobbies.
- Activities – if you need activity ideas we have lots!
See about our books, below…
A caregiver duties list is important to pay attention to so you don’t take on more than you can handle and get burned out. Which can happen sooner than one thinks!
Are you looking for lots of ideas for activities and games? Well we have a couple of excellent Kindle books for you!
“201 Fun Senior Activities” — If you need a comprehensive book with loads of activities, that can also help with your caregiver duties, then this is the perfect Kindle book for you! (Kindle books can also be easily be read on your PC without an actual Kindle device.) This book contains lots of new ideas, as well as neatly organized activities from our web site — so you don’t have to search all over. It’s sectioned into handy categories, such as General Activities, Activities for Men, Fun Food Activities, Holiday Activities, Outdoor Activities, Dementia Activities, and much more! Just go to our Kindle page at:
“71 Fun Games for Seniors” — Caregiver duties can involve a little entertainment. Want some great game ideas? Whether for the whole family, games to do alone, or ideas for activity directors, this Kindle book has load of games! Something for everyone and for just about every occasion. It contains lots of new games, plus many of those mentioned on our web site — all nicely organized so you don’t have to hunt all over. We have Holiday Games, Party Games, Mind Games, Dementia Games, Outdoor Games, and much more. It is thorough! (And you can read a Kindle book on your PC with a free download, without a Kindle device). So check it out on our Kindle page at:
“Fun Party Themes for Seniors” — I share a ton of parties in this book. Since major holiday parties are usually well-planned already by most folks, I don’t go into those as much. What I do offer is all kinds of other unique themes for any time of year, outdoors or indoors, large groups or small. And to fit just about any budget. Many parties can be modified to work into other holidays as well. Plus, I include decorating ideas and actual projects, and many recipes (many are right from my Dad’s famous recipe box).
Also be sure to read:
Home Healthcare – Pre-screening an agency — If you decide you need help, it is crucial that you understand about to find out about the qualifications and certification of home healthcare providers. Just because they have a glossy brochure does not necessarily mean they’re the best! (And reputation gets around).
The Fundamentals of Caregiving — What’s it all about exactly? Get 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. Learn what to expect, what to ask caregivers, and possible sharing of caregiver duties.
Care For Elderly In Home – Tips and Ideas — It takes a lot of planning, whether a loved one is staying in their own home or moving in with someone else (perhaps you). Some great tips and ideas, including fun!