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?
Or you?
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.
  • Activitiesif 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!

Activities Books

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!

to Care of Elderly

Elderly communication issues can take many forms. I’d had experience working with seniors before, but when Dad came to live with me at age 94, I was in for a few surprises.

There may be actual hearing loss involved (as with Dad). There may be the onset of dementia, which Dad did experience later. There may be depression. And there may personality traits to deal with… such as downright stubbornness. Or anger.

Some older people try to pretend that nothing is going on, nothing is wrong. Others complain frequently. It seems the lives of seniors are always changing in some way. Continuous change can be rough. It’s also rough on the caregiver and the family.

Regardless of the cause of difficulties, a crucial part of caregiver duties  is that caregivers, family members, even friends, learn to communicate as well as possible with our elderly. Their very well-being may depend on it. So does our own sanity.

Hearing Loss Issues

It is no secret that hearing loss as we age is one of the major challenges seniors face, to the point where is it almost epidemic. And hearing loss is one of the biggest contributors to elderly communication issues. My father experienced serious and sudden hearing loss, and I needed to learn to cope very quickly, as I was his primary caregiver.

Practical Solutions

As we age and changes occur, it is not always easy to understand someone or communicate well, as was the case with Dad. So I had to repeat and explain again (and again) as needed. I learned to speak loudly and slowly. Actually, in his case, it was annoying if we spoke too loudly. He had a very good hearing aid. It was clarity that was the issue. So speaking slowly and in a monotone was important.

Dealing with elderly communication issues that involve hearing loss can simply be a matter of finding practical solutions to every-day situations.  Care for elderly in home may require special adjustments. Dad had large-print phones with volume control, which he was able to basically hear. We put one in his bedroom, the sitting room, and in the main living room area. When family or friends called in, he was able to ramp up the volume and clarity control to talk to them. He also had a one-touch speed dial system for making outgoing phone calls. Raised buttons were adhered to certain numbers on the phone, for easy identification.

Selective Hearing and Understanding

Sometimes it is true that elderly cannot hear certain sound frequencies. Dad, in fact, misses whole chunks of conversation due to this. And he tries not to let on. You may need to try changing the tones of your voice, and it may be a matter of trial and error for awhile. It took months of trial for my kids to find a tone of voice that their grandfather could finally hear (somewhat).

I did finally learn, however, that often Dad would simply tune out what he was not interested in. He could certainly hear and understand more than he was letting on to. But he did not want us to know this, because he didn’t want to bother with certain things or be bothered by other things. So he just selectively tuned it out.

It was not necessarily a matter of being stubborn or lazy. It truly took a lot of concentration for him to listen. And he didn’t want to. But this sometimes became a real problem.

As understandable as this might be, I had to gently challenge him on it a few times. I did not want this to develop into a control game, especially in important matters.

I had to make sure, for instance, that he fully understood that (at age 96 1/2) the doctor insisted (and so did I) that he use his walker.  He would pretend he hadn’t heard this and simply did not use it. There came a point when I had to gently tell him that if he wanted to continue living here with me, he would have to use his walker (and follow other guidelines) so that I could continue to take care of him. That did it.

Background Noise

Another matter to be aware of with elderly communication issues, is that background noise becomes very bothersome and can interfere with hearing and responding. There are digital hearing aids available that can cut down on this. But it never did work for my Dad.

So be sure to understand whether background noise is going to be one of the elderly communication issues you and the one you’re caring for will be dealing with. Be aware of the environment you and your elderly are in.

Making sure only one person speaks at a time is important. I have even had to ask people to please stop talking for a moment. (After all, the gathering was for him). I could see Dad was trying to hear what someone was saying to him, and he was getting very frustrated.

Large social gatherings can be very challenging for many elderly people, rather than truly enjoyable. It is one of the situations my father dislikes the most. Most of the time he will not attend now. And only wants visitors for a half-hour.

Problems with Socializing

Dad’s hearing loss was so severe that he could not participate well in social activities. That is one of the reasons he moved in with me – it was almost impossible for him to socialize at his assisted living facility. Being around others was almost overwhelming. (He also has severe vision loss). Communicating with anyone except certain members of the family is still one of his major issues.

Elderly people may have preferences and desires …different from other family members. Those experienced in care of elderly know they can be set in their ways. Be sensitive to their feelings.

Any kind of change or stress can be difficult for them. They may become confused, depressed, frightened like Dad was; even angry. And sometimes unable to articulate  or appreciate your help.

Being Direct and Clear

Besides hearing loss and actual symptoms of dementia, confusion, inability to quickly process what is being said and done, and memory loss can all affect elderly communication issues. There is also the matter of personal pride. Many older people will pretend they know what it going on, even when they don’t. And there will be times when it is crucial that they do know.

With Dad, I have to specifically ask him if he understood what I said. And what I meant. Sometimes I have him repeat back to me, so I can be sure. He now knows I will do this with important things, (and trying to fool me will not work). But it has to be done in a very dignified and kind way, of course.

Even though our elderly may now be somewhat helpless, we do not want to treat them as a child. Once in awhile Dad would have confusion and truly almost seem like a child. But he certainly did not want me to respond to him as such! When working with elderly communication issues, we can strive to help them become as independent as possible.

Be sure to also read:

Signs of Elderly Problems — There are telling signs of elderly problems. Problems that are often hidden. It is crucial to learn to tell the signs for the health and safety of loved ones. This is also when knowing how to work with elderly communication issues is valuable.

Elderly Stress Issues — Needless to say, aging can add up to stress. Especially when many things are happening at once. It can be quite eye-opening.

to Care of Elderly

If you are a caregiver,
do you have an elderly help Plan?

Do you need a Plan? If you’re giving or needing elderly help for a loved one, you may surprised at what you’ll need to know about. I sure was. And, I learned, success is in the details.

Caregiving can come upon us suddenly like it did with our Dad. Or perhaps you were lucky and life gradually progressed along. No matter what the circumstances you are dealing with, from nutrition to senior activities, this page will help you quickly and methodically create a Plan, or hone your current one.

I’m a list person, so I make lists for everything. The checklists below may help you too. They encompass the main areas of caregiving – health care, safety, personal needs, social needs, and daily tasks and housekeeping.

This page has been developed to help you figure out the help you or your loved one may need. It involves detail, so a Plan will make it less stressful and more satisfying. You can get specific information about the various signs of elderly problems at the link.

If your loved one has been hospitalized, some of the decisions about elderly help will be made for you or with you by a health care professional or social services representative. You may be advised that they must move to assisted living or a nursing home, either temporarily or permanently.

Health Care:

A good elderly help Plan consists of first discovering and dealing with health care issues. These will also trigger lots of other needs. You will get information on some items below because of hospital stays or visits with elderly health care providers.

If you are caring for elderly parents, go with them to their medical appointments to make sure everything is understood correctly and can be carried out.

Make a list in advance of your questions and discussion items regarding your elderly help Plan and health concerns. Speak with the doctors yourself, and repeat back the information given.

Write it down so everyone is very clear about diagnosis and procedures. This eliminates confusion or misinterpretation by your loved one who may not hear or understand well.

Many elderly people will only cooperate if they hear information directly from their doctor. Find out what will work regarding care of elderly in-home. My Dad, for instance, had severe hearing and vision loss and is almost deaf and blind.

Here is a list of possible health concerns. When making your plan, remember to ask yourself:

Who, What, When, How.

Make sure medical appointments are up-to-date
___ Needs help setting and remembering appointments
___ Needs help getting to appointments
___ Medication reminders
___ Medication set up
___ Total medication management
___ Needs help picking up prescriptions
___ Shows signs of vision loss – needs vision aid
___ Shows signs of hearing loss – needs hearing aid
___ Needs special equipment – a walker, cane, wheelchair
___ Shows signs of incontinence
___ Needs foot care
___ Needs ear cleaning care
___ Needs regular exercise
___ Has frequent bruising or sores
___ Skin tone has obvious changes
___ Pre- or post-surgery care
___ Wound care
___ Skin condition care
___ Loss of appetite
___ Daily “I’m OK” check-in
___ Talk to a health care social worker about resources for help
___ Talk to a social worker, state or county about public benefits and aid.
___ Understand Medicare and Medicaid guidelines for aid
___ If the elderly was a veteran, talk to the VA about aid
___ Ask any professional helping you about elderly assistance
___ Other

Safety:

A strong elderly help Plan includes many safety issues, some that result from health problems. Seniors often try to fiercely maintain their independence. They may not even mention they are having problems. They may only leave subtle clues that something has happened.

When it was time for Dad to move in with me, safety measures were of primary importance. But we really had to watch and pick his brain to discover exactly to what extent. It is important to be observant especially about frequent forgetfulness, otherwise you may never know what is really going on.

Here are some of the safety issues that may need attention.

___ Not able to use stairs
___ Frequently trips
___ Trips on carpet or other flooring – no longer safe
___ Falls that cause injuries
___ Has more bruising or sores
___ Slips in bathroom, at either tub or toilet
___ Needs walker or cane
___ Causes cooking accidents or fires
___ Forgets to turn off stove or water
___ Remove or unplug stove and oven
___ Remove or unplug microwave
___ Monitor age of food in refrigerator
___ Forgets to lock doors or close windows
___ Does not regulate temperature in home
___ Causes spills
___ Forgets where he/she is in familiar places
___ No longer safe to drive
___ Needs emergency response device or pendant
___ Other

Personal Needs:

All facets of an elderly help Plan require sensitivity to personal dignity. And patience. As we age, daily personal routines and grooming tasks become more difficult or even impossible.

Elderly people who had been used to taking care of others, now find themselves needing help with basic daily tasks. This is a sensitive issue when caring for elderly parents. It can cause embarrassment to them. And maybe to you.

Being very honest, understanding and supportive is the best way. There are many solutions that allow caring for the elderly in-home, and outside help from a home healthcare service may be needed. Review the list below and add any additional areas for elderly help.

___ Cannot transfer from chair or bed or toilet
___ Bathing assistance
___ Buttoning help
___ Dressing help
___ Putting on shoes or tying shoes
___ Shaving, washing, brushing teeth
___ Toenail clipping and foot grooming
___ Other grooming needs
___ Toileting assistance
___ Needs special incontinence products

Social Needs:

An elderly help Plan also must include social needs and various senior activities. This can be a vital part of any healing process. You can imagine that the changes mentioned above can have a huge impact on the elderly person psychologically.

One of the reasons Dad moved in with me rather than stay in assisted living is because due to his hearing and vision loss, it was impossible for him to socialize or participate in groups. He could not see who he was talking to and so could not recognize or identify anyone who came up to him. Nor could he understand much of what they were saying.

Health and nutrition issues can cause changes to healthy brain processes too, and can cause confusion and depression. You can find help available through a health care provider familiar with care of elderly. A strong social support system is an important factor in dealing with elderly issues. Here are some items to review for social needs.

___ Lost interest in former hobbies and activities
___ Little conversation with friends and family
___ Needs scheduled social activities
___ Needs escort or transportation to activities
___ Enroll in Adult Day Care programs
___ Help with hobbies
___ May need books on tape if reading is difficult
___ May enjoy being read to
___ Need help with computer activities
___ Join senior center and activities
___ Participate in community meals at senior center
___ Arrange for in-home senior companion visits
___ Plan an exercise program, especially with others

Daily Tasks and Housekeeping:

The care of elderly may also require a new approach to handling everyday tasks. Watch for signs of problems and assist your loved one in developing a system. Providing elderly help in these areas can give immediate relief. Remember to ask – Who, What, When, How.

___ Laundry piles up – needs help
___ Clothing needs mending
___ Help cleaning house
___ Remove trash
___ Getting mail from mailbox
___ Reading mail
___ Paying bills
___ Pest control
___ Regulating temperature of home
___ Opening and closing windows for fresh air
___ Eliminating odors in home
___ Sorting and eliminating unnecessary junk
___ Sorting old paperwork
___ Downsizing and simplifying possessions

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 some fun!

to Care of Elderly

Learning about the fundamentals of caregiving can help you make more effective decisions. The chances are very high that one of your loved ones will develop problems that necessitate elderly home care.

Around 80 percent of elder care is provided by family members.

And if you are a woman, traditionally the chances of you becoming one of the elder caregivers are very high. Like me.

You may, in fact find that you have joined the other couple million in what is known these days as the “sandwich generation” – sandwiched between taking care of two age groups. Elder care, and your own children. And you also may maintain outside employment. Knowing the fundamentals of caregiving can save your sanity and pocketbook.

So the more you learn about caregiving and what it entails, the more prepared you will be.

When we first started talking about Dad moving back here from Arizona, we had to consider the possibilities of different needs he might have and caregiving options available. (At the time, I did not know I would be the one doing the caregiving – good thing I had background and lots of research under my belt!)

Fundamentals of Caregiving – Basics

What exactly is caregiving?
Here is a basic description, especially for elder caregivers: someone offering unpaid assistance either full time or part time. The fundamentals of caregiving can involve both physical and emotional care, depending on the elderly problems involved.

You can still be considered a caregiver even if you live out of town from your loved one. Or if your loved one is also receiving other outside services.

There are two main categories of caregivers: primary caregivers who have the bulk of the responsibility (usually an adult daughter); and secondary caregivers who are not as involved but who do provide further support.

But there is also the aspect of caregiving that is for pay, including elderly home care.

You may decide that the primary and secondary caregivers will be family members or friends, and you will do the caregiving yourself like I am doing. This may work for awhile, if the elderly person’s conditions are not severe or life threatening.

But when progressive illness or other conditions are present, you do not want to risk errors, inability to cope, or burnout. You need to be prepared with a back-up plan.

At this point you may consider hiring outside assistance. Or your loved one may need to move into an assisted living or nursing home facility.

These are very difficult decisions and facility caregiving costs are very high. You may, however, be fine with hiring home healthcare services for quite awhile, enabling your loved one to remain at home for as long as possible.

One of the fundamentals of caregiving is access to caregiver duties that can be contracted “cafeteria style,” according to needs.

If you determine you will need outside help either to come into the home or within a facility, be prepared to ask them some very important questions regarding the fundamentals of caregiving.

Questions to Ask

  • Obtain a list of services and itemized cost for each.
  • Will the services be provided in-home or in a facility.
  • Verify if the services needed will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits. These may require additional applications
  • Make sure they are licensed by the state, county, or both, depending on the requirements in that area.
  • What is the experience and certification of the caregiver who will be assigned.
  • Obtain at least references from current and previous clients.
  • What is their process for communicating with you.
  • What happens if you have a complaint or are not satisfied with the services.
  • Inquire about guarantees and refunds.
  • Make sure you bring home a sample contract and review it before proceeding. Get help if you do not understand any part(s) of the contract.
  • When will the services be provided – days of the week and times of the day.
  • Schedule a time to observe the caregiver; jot down questions and comments.

So now you have a good idea of the caregiver duties typically provided. You may decide some elder care can be done by your family or friends.

But you may realize you also do need help from outside caregivers. Does that mean moving your loved one into a care facility? Or have an elder care agency come in to assist?

And if you decide to take a look at elderly home care agencies, how do you decide which one to choose? We have home healthcare information so you know how to pre-screen them and know they are qualified and legitimate. Read these further considerations you need to know in advance before hiring elderly home care.

More info on fundamentals of caregiving:

Caregiver Duties — What are caregiver duties exactly? As you may guess, quality caregiving does not always happen. You deserve the best. Just what should you expect from a good caregiver?
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). Great tips and ideas, including having some fun!

to Care of Elderly

Issue for seniors can come suddenly, without warning

Care of elderly is very likely something you may be very involved with at some point, as I am now — for your family, or even friends. You may care for your spouse. Or if you are a baby boomer like me, an elderly parent, or perhaps a sibling as you age. Quality caregiving, as you may know, is one of the major elderly issues.

If you haven’t thought caregiving through ahead of time, you may become overwhelmed. Our family thought we had pretty much thought it all through. But unforeseen things do come up. (Like Dad actually moving in with me, at age 94). But you will find that there are many options available, whether it be the fundamentals of caregiving for home health care, or a long term care community.

But first, you need to get prepared for what may be ahead. There are many different factors and scenarios, of course, but here we’ll provide a few guidelines to consider. And many of them from very personal experience.

Care of Elderly Information

Caregiving reaches into many areas, including memory loss, so the best plan should be efficient and detailed. Thank heavens I’m a detail nut, so planning this through came more easily to me than it might to some. Although sometimes the need for elderly assistance comes on gradually, it can also be quite sudden, leaving everyone in somewhat of a tailspin.

Dad, for instance, lost a great deal of his eyesight almost over night. His macular degeneration suddenly caused a lot of bleeding in his eye. And he was alone down in Arizona. Suddenly he could not read the labels on food packaging or figure out what was in the grocery store, much less get to it. We had to rush to his aid and move him back here with family.

You may already have some guidance…or not. We can help. Including if you’re needing lots of senior activity ideas. The first thing to remember is…

Just don’t try to do it all yourself!

(I almost made that mistake — thinking I could Do It All — wrong!) There are many excellent professionals in various aspects of caregiving who have devoted their careers to this and who are available to help you. (In fact, you may find out you enjoy it too, and may consider it yourself).

Communicating

Care of the elderly requires patience and understanding. Their lives are changing. They may not be able to understand or communicate effectively. There are many elderly communication issues that occur, many of which I have experienced first-hand with Dad. So I’ve written a separate page about it, with my ideas.

Be sure to call on other family members (including kids!), professionals, state and country resources, and perhaps neighbors or friends to help. And when necessary, do seek lots of advice from those who specialize in care of elderly.

No doubt about it — you will need help. No one is any good to anyone else when burned out. To prepare a plan, I first had to ask myself the basic questions,

Who…What…When…How…

These, of course, are standard for almost any problem solving in life. It makes things easier if we also keep these four questions in mind when making our plan for the care of elderly. (I share some of my ideas on our page on Elderly Help – Making a Plan,) — maybe they can help you too.

Home Healthcare Information

One of the important elderly issues to consider is where caregiving will take place. Most families want to try to maintain care for elderly in-home as long as possible. We found this to be far more cost-efficient. With some thinking through. As you make your plan and review our items in the Making a Plan page (see link above), think of ways this can be done.

With care of elderly, staying in one’s home is more familiar and usually more comforting — and we found it to be much less expensive. Bring in help from family and friends. Even so, you may find you need outside assistance. Even though I am able to take care of Dad myself (so far), I know anything could come up at any time to change this. This brings up many questions about care of elderly:

Care of elderly in-home is usually more affordable than the monthly fees in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

You may also find it valuable to hire the services of a licensed geriatric care manager (a nurse or social worker who specializes in care of elderly), especially if you live far away from the person who needs care. We almost did this in order to have Dad stay at home in Arizona, but being almost deaf and blind, it would have been too confusing for him. So check out all options and compare expenses.

Most elderly problems are related to health: physical, mental and emotional. Our above-mentioned pages on the fundamentals of caregiving can help you sort out what you need to know about caregiver duties, home healthcare providers, and types of long term care.

More about care of elderly:

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, including having some fun!


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Care for elderly in home takes a lot of planning. Whatever way it happens, it may involve big changes in life style, and it’s best to plan for in advance, if possible.

Care may take place in their own home (perhaps with home healthcare services too), or your elderly loved one may be moving in with someone else (perhaps you). Which was my case. I found that I indeed did need some home services later on.

You cannot do this alone.
It is important to stress right here. Even if you are doing it alone. That was a big mistake I started to make at first. And there are many ways to find support (see below).

The state’s trend in Minnesota, is to encourage care for elderly in home, including with family, for as long as possible. The reasons?

Cost is the first. It is less expensive and therefore seniors do not go through their assets as rapidly, at which point the state would subsidize care. Another is health and well-being. The state is very aware that senior health is much better when living with loved ones, largely due to better nutrition, social interaction, personal supervision, and mental stimulation.

Every situation with care for elderly in home is unique and different. But I learned there are common tips to consider.

First, educate yourself as to the fundamentals of caregiving, and of typical caregiver duties. Some of the preparations must be done before a loved one moves in with you. Or, if they are remaining at home, take action right away. With ta good approach, it’s very possible to care for elderly in home for a long time.

My story – and what I needed to do

…to move my father in with me, from assisted living, and why. He felt that at this time of his life, the most important thing to him was to live with family for as long as possible. Dad has serious vision and hearing loss but is otherwise in very good health. But no matter what the circumstances, care for elderly in home involves many of the same considerations.

As we mentioned in our page on Elderly Help – Making A Plan, there are several categories to consider for your particular situation:

  • Health care
  • Safety
  • Social needs
  • Nutrition
  • Personal needs
  • Daily tasks and housekeeping

When my father and I decided he would move in with me from assisted living, there were several factors I needed to consider. He was in great need of social interaction and activities, and help with daily tasks. Because of his deaf-blind condition, he became somewhat lonely and isolated, although surrounded by lots of people in assisted living. He could only socialize or participate on a limited basis.

I knew that it was of utmost importance to make sure Dad had plenty of social interaction and positive attitude to maintain good memory and mood. This is one of the advantages of care for elderly in home.

Dad was already in very good health, exercised a lot, and had excellent nutrition. (If you’d like elderly nutrition tips, see our page on Elderly Nutrition.) For us, the main issues regarding care for elderly in home were safety, and social and mental stimulation.

Nevertheless, I knew I had to be prepared that anything could change in any area at any time. I had to have a game plan in place. There are many specifics to plan for with care for elderly in home. Some of the situations we had to think through are below.

Planning Care for Elderly In Home

Information

asian female doctor

Emergency and Directions
Care for elderly in home requires detailed information that all involved have access to.

On the fridge, post a sheet of paper with all of the necessary medical information, doctors, hospital, important phone numbers and addresses, who has power of attorney, who are the primary contacts, etc. Also include detailed prescription and medication information and schedule. This was a valuable idea we learned that was mandated at Dad’s former assisted living.

The information is for anyone who may need to help in an emergency. The information should also be given to all appropriate family members or caregivers who will be involved with your loved one.

Make sure power of attorney has been designated, as well as an executor, plus healthcare directives in place. Also it’s ideal to have a letter of instruction, a will, living trust, etc. The appropriate family members or people involved should all be given the same information. 

caregiver with elderly woman with walker

Help and Resources
When you care for elderly in home, you do not need to feel alone. I did lots of research and made a list of various resources in my community  to draw on, should something happen. Some of these may also work for you:

  • Home healthcare services and visiting nurses (quality and reputation will differ).
  • Source or store for independent living aids and assistive devices (a local pharmacy specialized in this).
  • Geriatric case manager, if appropriate (his doctor recommended one, should the need arise).
  • Visiting companion services (I got a referral from church and also the senior living campus down the street).
  • Church contacts (many have a visiting parish nurse or a befriender program).
  • Library visits (local libraries have volunteers for seniors).
  • Help from state blind or deaf organizations, and other appropriate organizations with lots of advice and even free devices and materials — it was wonderful for Dad. They came to visit several times a year with updates.
  • Neighbors, friends or family who can pop in while you’re out.
  • Local small businesses who run errands and help with the elderly may also sit with them while you are out.
  • Who can help if and when you go on vacation.
  • Respite care resources (our senior campuses have a set up for this on-site for up to a week).
  • Adult day care (it may include transportation to and from).
  • Senior transportation.
  • Support groups (for you, if needed).
  • Hospital and hospice (check into these before you need them and while you’re not in a crisis).

This list should include phone numbers, addresses, web site addresses, and contact names. Give this list to all family or others who will be involved.

Health

This is a vast topic. With care for elderly in home, there are a myriad health issues that can come and go, some will be more serious. You must be very knowledgeable about all your loved one’s current health issues, treatments, medications, and what the doctor believes could be expected to occur in the future (if known).

Dad and I determined that as things happened, we would call upon home healthcare when necessary, allowing him to stay living with me as long as possible.

In the meantime, I took precautionary steps for “just in case” scenarios. With care for elderly in home, you never know what can come up. One step was purchasing incontinence products in advance, should that situation occur, and special cleaning products.

Talk to your loved one’s doctor and local pharmacist for guidelines about products, sanitation, assistance, procedures, and other matters. Play out possible scenarios in your mind and how you would handle them. What would you do, at least temporarily, and who would you then go to for help.

Safety Measures

When Dad moved in with me this was very eye-opening. Lots of changes needed to be made for safety. So we discussed planning, crucial communication, what to do when he’d be home alone (which was infrequent and for a very short time), re-vamping areas of the home prone to causing accidents like the bathroom, stairs, bedroom, kitchen, etc. You can find many catalogs and online sites for senior products that offer lots of solutions.

Activities and Keeping Busy

Care for elderly in home also involves fun!
Plan with your loved one about what activities, hobbies, and projects they enjoy, and which chores they can help with to keep busy. This also allows them to feel a sense of contribution. Also ask them which activities they want you to participate in, and which they like to do by themselves.

One of our favorites is me reading aloud to Dad. Each evening I read from a book, and twice a week I read him the local newspaper. A schedule is very important to the elderly (and caregiver), to add structure, continuity and something to look forward to and count on. Within this schedule can be variety or something new and fun. Most elderly need consistent meal and snack times.

My Dad liked to walk. This was difficult during the winter here, and when living with me he no longer had many long halls to walk down, as in assisted living. So his doctor recommended a very simple treadmill. He also walked through our rooms and halls, and went up and down the stairs to exercise with me. (Get exercise ideas on our exercises for the elderly page).

When you go out, decide which outings they can come along on. Especially during inclement weather.

We planned for Dad to accompany me to the grocery store, department stores, or large discount stores, so he could do some walking in the aisles with me. If he got tired, we sat him on a bench or in the in-store coffee area for awhile. We went to church every Sunday as much as possible and if we couldn’t, we watched services on TV.

Your circumstances will be yours. But perhaps these tips and experiences about care for elderly in home will trigger more ideas for you. I can’t stress enough how important careful planning is.

Also of utmost importance is to learn to relax, go with the flow, and accept What Is. You learn to live in the Now, as they say. Especially in their now.

Caregiving involves Care and Giving, two very wonderful words. So relax and enjoy this time with your loved one. You’ll be less stressed. And you will be making very special memories.

And know that you are not alone. There is a wealth of resources available to help with care for elderly in home. Find out about them and get them in place as soon as you can. This will help with your peace of mind, and allow you to also take care of yourself.

Activities Books

Are you looking for lots of ideas for activities and games? Well we have a couple of excellent Kindle books for you! (And you don’t even need a Kindle device — you can just download them to your computer).

senior activities books

“201 Fun Senior Activities” — If you need a comprehensive book with loads of activities, 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” — 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” — This is a really comprehensive book for full party planning, including easy and delicious family recipes right from my Dad’s recipe box — he loved to entertain! Even decorating (and some crafts) to follow the party themes. If you don’t have the time or desire to plan everything out, this book will do it. Or if you want a few new ideas, get them here. Take a look on this Kindle page:

Be sure to also read:

Elderly Health Care – Issues and Solutions — Get more tips and insights about various health issues that our elderly face (and that you may too, as a caregiver).


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Having good home healthcare information in advance is vital to screening and choosing top-notch home healthcare providers. This ever-growing field specifically provides care for elderly in home so they can remain there longer. They assist the family with elderly issues and caregiver duties they are not able to perform.

Services can be contracted with home healthcare providers on a custom-made basis for weekly or daily visits, for a home healthcare nurse, or even live-in assistance.

Home Healthcare Information

Fundamentals of caregiving include daily household tasks, medication help, transportation to medical appointments, mobility help, emergency care, helping with elderly activities, counseling, and more. See our page on Caregiver Duties for more details.

But who should you choose and what do you need to know about care for elderly in home?

Here is valuable home healthcare information on pre-screening a service, from Comfort Keepers, national home healthcare providers who are expert with the fundamentals of caregiving.

    Q) My husband can’t be left alone and I will need some in home care. What important questions should I be sure to ask prospective caregivers or agencies? — Edna W., Sarasota, FL

    Getting quality care without leaving yourself vulnerable can be trickier than most people really understand. The glossy brochures and a recommendation from a neighbor doesn’t give you some important information needed to find a good fit and protect your assets.

    Start with general questions about how many caregivers they have, what background checks are performed (do they do local and national checks), what happens if a caregiver gets sick. Also learn about the training and supervision of the caregiving staff.

    You will also want to know if the caregivers are employees of the company or independent contractors. If they are not employees of the agency you could become an accidental employer and possibly found to be liable for medical bills and lost wages in the event of injury.

    Does the agency carry liability insurance in the event you are injured while the caregiver is driving? Who is responsible for payroll taxes and social security payments? If you use private individuals or independent contractors you might want to check with your attorney on your potential liabilities.

    Don’t stop asking questions just because the brochure says bonded and insured – the caregiver may not be!

    For a free brochure – 20 Questions to Ask before hiring A Home Care Agency. Visit the Comfort Keeper web site.

According to home healthcare information and statistics, services typically cost $20 or more per hour. This is much more affordable than a nursing home or assisted living. But it is still costly.

After you have pre-screened home healthcare providers, you will need to know how to ask very specific questions about caregiver duties and services.

This home healthcare information will clarify for both family members and outside assistants just what the elderly problems and expectations are. These details ensure a more stress-free and satisfying experience for you and your loved one.

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