When people hear the word caregiving or caregiver, the first thing that comes to their mind is someone who just looks after seniors; and to most people, this means that the caregiver is most likely looking after a bed-ridden patient and just changing diapers. This is a myth of gigantic proportions. Caregiving is a lot more than simply giving the senior a bath or changing his undergarments- in reality, it is a close relationship where the caregiver plays multiple roles in the life of a senior.
Most people who have had a caregiver just wish that the person would never leave. Caregivers, in general, provide a service to seniors who prefer to stay in their home instead of a nursing home. Only when a caregiver enters your home will you realize how many skills they bring. Here we highlight a few:
Most caregivers at some point assume the role of a nurse. This may involve managing the medications, helping with blood glucose measurements, recording blood pressure, and ensuring that the senior gets to his or her medical appointments on time. The caregiver will be astute about any medical problems and even call the healthcare provider when necessary.
For the majority of caregivers, one duty that often falls on them is to help the senior with grooming, bathing, and putting on clothes. For the rest of the day, a significant amount of time is spent on other personal care tasks like putting on shoes, walking to the bathroom, or providing assistance with change of clothes.
Many people do not realize that many caregivers not only go shopping for the senior but some even help prepare meals in the kitchen. Some caregivers may even find themselves making small meals that a senior desires, warming up food, or preparing a healthy salad. In fact, caregivers frequently make a shopping list and some even go shopping with the senior.
One job that is a must for all caregivers is routine housekeeping. This means cleaning, vacuuming and sweeping. It also means doing the laundry, ironing the clothes and putting them away. Caregivers also clean the indoors and outdoors, change the light bulbs, wash the windows, take out the trash and ensure that the plumbing, electricity, and heat are running fine. Many caregivers pay attention to home safety so that the senior will not fall or slip.
Many caregivers function as a driver or a chauffeur for seniors. Seniors often need to go the doctor’s office, pharmacy, shopping, hairdresser, bank, church, or even visit friends. And since many seniors have difficulty driving, caregivers help out by functioning as drivers.
One of the most helpful functions of caregiver is to function as a security guard. Elderly people often leave alone and housebreaking and vandalism are not uncommon. The caregiver often ensures that the home is secure and that the locks work. He or she may also phone in to check on the senior regularly to make sure nothing is amiss.
Caregivers play a vital role as therapist and a social worker. They ensure that the senior’s meals are provided and that the senior is up to date with his or her Medicare or other insurance plans. The caregiver helps with any type of rehabilitation that may be required after a stroke. In addition, the caregiver may help with ambulation; assist with a wheelchair or help transfer the senior into a bed or a chair. Finally, the caregiver may ensure that the senior has grab-bars in the bathroom and that the corridors are free of clutter.
Caregivers also provide companionship for seniors. One of the most common complaints from most seniors is that they often feel lonely. Hence the caregiver provides companionship by speaking and listening, going out for a walk, watching TV together or just having a meal together.
One final role of a caregiver is being a friend. Most caregivers, who look after seniors for a long time, eventually develop a friendship based on trust and honesty. Seniors often trust their caregivers more than their families. They will tell them about their will, power of attorney, finances, and their final wishes.
So now you know that caregivers do a lot more than just changing diapers. Caregivers simply do not brag about what they do chiefly because it is all part of the job they love. Many caregivers eventually become a part of the senior’s family. So if you are thinking of hiring a caregiver rest assured that by far the majority of caregivers have many talents and skills. So no matter what physical or mental deficit the senior may have, most caregivers can drastically improve their quality of life. Society simply has not come to realize their full potential. The most difficult thing is to find a good caregiver.